Vital equipment, not icing on the cake

Hospitals are increasingly being forced to turn to fundraising to buy essential equipment as National’s cuts to health take their toll, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Right now we’ve got a charity organisation rattling the tins for a heli-pad for Canterbury DHB and Starship Hospital undertaking door-to-door collections.

“Capital and Coast District Health Board wouldn’t have had its new MRI scanner if it hadn’t been for the efforts of Wellington Hospitals Foundation.

“Yet here’s the rub, WHF is a charitable trust which raises money for, as it says ‘extra projects’ that are not funded by the Government.

“Demand for MRIs has risen 20 per cent across the region over five years. A new scanner, I suspect, was a necessity, not a nice to have.

“Ensuring our hospitals have the best facilities and equipment is fundamental to a quality healthcare system.

“To have patients and the public chipping in to help pay for vital medical gear is something we would expect to see in Third World countries, not 21st Century New Zealand.

“Still, when you have a National Government that has cut $1.7 billion from the health budget in the past six years, it’s no wonder our supposedly publically-funded DHBs are having to be propped up courtesy of cake stalls and coin trails,” Annette King says.