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Ryall missing in action on prevention

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

National's record on preventive health simply does not stack up with the political spin being put about by Tony Ryall, Labour's Health spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

"This Government has quite unashamedly taken its focus off prevention and no amount of shuffling of funds or reclassifying of spending will change that.

"In the last Budget $124 million was cut from Ministry programmes, including key public health initiatives in nutrition, alcohol, sexual health and clean drinking water."

"These are programmes dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of New Zealanders. Over time they will result in hospital and treatment cost savings and a healthier population. Tony Ryall has cut these to focus on short-term political targets," Grant Robertson said.

"Even where attention has been given to public health there are some major concerns. The Rheumatic Fever programme sounds great in theory, but in reality some areas, like Counties Manukau, are being woefully underfunded for the outcomes that are expected.

"The Minister has ratcheted up expectations, but the funding is just not there to back it up.

'The same goes for the bowel screening pilot, where there is not enough work being done to support the future roll-out in terms of staffing and training.

"Labour believes we need greater focus on public health. Addressing obesity, alcohol abuse and smoking cessation are major priorities," Grant Robertson said.

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