Health Ministry misses the point under Ryall

The Government is failing to tackle the two biggest killers of New Zealanders and is instead obsessed with filling elective surgery quotas for political purposes, says Labour's Health spokesperson, Maryan Street.

The recently released Performance Investment Framework assessment of the Ministry of Health reveals that on Health Minister Tony Ryall’s watch, diabetes and heart disease are not getting sufficient attention.

"Diabetes and cardiovascular illness kill more New Zealanders than anything else, but they get among the lowest performance and achievement ratings in the Ministry's review.

"Tony Ryall has spent too much time and money setting up structures such as the National Health Board outside of the Ministry of Health which have confused policy and delivery. Instead of the health system focusing on the most serious health problems facing Kiwis, we have hospitals being pushed to meet Tony Ryall’s elective surgery targets.

“This Government would rather concentrate on getting good headlines by filling surgery quotas than take aim at diabetes and heart disease. This review underlines the urgent need for proper resourcing of preventative measures to save lives

"Instead, the Government has changed blood glucose meters for diabetics to one sole supplier, and that is beginning to wreak havoc amongst diabetics and the medical professionals who work with them.

"Then the Government increases prescription charges so that people with chronic conditions who require a lot of medication will need to pay more up front for their medication.

"The Government is working against success in the areas which are killing the most people. Tony Ryall needs to take a serious look at his priorities," says Maryan Street.

Contact:  Maryan Street 021 977 555 until midday, Iain Lees-Galloway 021 242 0814 after 12pm