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Health sector pushed to desperate measures

Industrial action being taken by DHB workers is a direct result of prolonged and chronic underfunding of the sector by National, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

"Labour has been warning of a blow-out for some time following increasing pressure being placed on our district health boards.

“Not only has the Government ordered them to save $700 million by 2015, but Treasury’s own modelling shows this year’s health budget has been cut by 2.3 per cent in real terms.

“Put that alongside funding claw-backs in several DHBs whose communities have significant health needs but where the census shows populations have fallen, vacancies not being filled and funding freezes to NGOs, and it is services that ultimately suffer.

“DHB staff have become the meat in the funding sandwich and they have obviously had enough.

“Labour believes access to good health care is the right of every New Zealander, and for that you need a well-supported workforce.

“Good health should not be determined by your ethnicity, where you happen to live or your ability to pay.

“Under a Labour Government funding will keep pace with inflationary costs, setting aside $1 billion a year for health and education initiatives. We will set priorities that take a long term approach to eliminate inequalities in health and improve the health of all Kiwis,” Annette King said.