New Zealand Labour Party

This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time

Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.

“He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality is that 14 District Health Boards are having to make changes to what they can fund with less money than what they thought they had on Budget day.

“What do these fewer precious health dollars mean? Well for a Kiwi living in Counties Manukau DHB region we are talking about an estimated equivalent of nearly 2,500 cataract operations or 350 hip replacements that could have been funded.

“For the Southern District Health Board which lost $5.7 million as a result of the MOH bungle, it means nearly 300 hip replacements, or the loss of funding for an additional 120 nurses.

“Among the other 12 DHBs that will be hit hard by this debacle are Hawke’s Bay, Capital and Coast and Canterbury.

“The Minister flails about insisting that funding is keeping up with population growth, ignoring his own Ministry’s calculation which is based on demographic changes - the cost to health of a growing, elderly population.

“By the Ministry of Health and Treasury’s demographic measure, the Government has underfunded healthcare by $2.3 billion.

“For the Minister to say that health is better in all areas for the past nine long years is insulting to the half a million Kiwis who cannot afford to see their GP and every hard working mental health worker stretched beyond their limits.

"We need Labour’s fresh approach to health care. Labour is committed to ensuring affordable access to high-quality health care for all New Zealanders and reversing National’s health funding shortfall,“ says David Clark.