New Zealand Labour Party

Bulging mailbag sign of growing health crisis

A Whangarei woman whose home care was cut from three hours a fortnight to just one and called in Red Cross in desperation after being unable to do her grocery shopping, is just one of many Kiwis cruelly affected by cuts to public health, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“My inbox is full of letters from people whose experiences with the health sector read like something from a horror movie script.

“Few of them blame frontline staff.  Rather it is the Government’s unrelenting focus on reducing costs whatever the cost that has prompted them to come forward.

“Cutting home-help to the elderly, changing criteria for surgery so more people are living in increased pain, secret waiting lists, consultation refusals and reductions in dental health services for our kids have all been cited.

“National’s top-down target to reduce government spending with no consideration of the outcomes is callousness at its worst.

“Around $1.7 billion has been slashed from Health since 2010. In real terms that means district health board budgets can’t keep up with inflation, let alone a growing and aging population.

“Jonathan Coleman has been copied into many of these letters. He knows what’s going on. Unfortunately he chooses to ignore it and the result result will be a health system forced to compromise quality and without the capacity to meet growing health needs.”