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Changes, Not Cuts In Health Sector - Key

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

By Kate Chapman of NZPA

Wellington, Aug 9 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key is defending the Government's handling of funding in the health sector saying it had made changes, not cuts.

His comments follow the resignation of Capital and Coast District Health Board (DHB) chief executive Ken Whelan last week because he believed it was not possible to cut any more costs despite government pressure to do so.

Capital Coast posted a $47 million deficit in the past financial year and faces huge interest costs over the new regional hospital buildings in Wellington.

There was also public outcry in Otago and Southland over the weekend about plans to move neurological services to Christchurch.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Government was asking DHBs to ensure value for money and improvement in frontline services.

The Green Party said the Government was showing contempt towards advice from the sector and was now cutting into the bone and sinew of health services -- with no fat left to trim.

However, Mr Key, who has discussed the issue with Mr Ryall, said the Government was putting more money into health that at any other time -- $14 billion.

The Government was having to constantly look for ways to improve efficiency to meet growing demand, he said.

"I think when people use the terms cuts it's in a pejorative sense -- we have made changes in the health system."

Innovation and creativity were needed to continue increasing efficiency, Mr Key said.

"In a time when the Government is not exactly flush with cash we are prioritising health."

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