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A Sick Budget

25 May 2012:

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) analysis of the health budget released yesterday shows that the Government has not prioritised a healthy New Zealand.

NZNO CEO, Geoff Annals says, “The Health Minister’s figures for new health spending and those of independent analysts do not add up. It is misleading to say that there is hundreds of millions of new money for health when, in fact, much of that money is coming from cuts to existing services and programmes and increasing the cost of others.”

“The bottom line is that there has not been enough money spent on health to retain the services we already have, and to pay for new initiatives.”

“Nurses are expecting to see user pays charges, cuts to services and jobs, and poorer, sicker patients arriving at hospital with the diseases and illness of poverty. We are in for a tough year. It will be especially tough for New Zealanders who have chronic illness and are poor, and the wider budget unfairly targets young New Zealanders" Annals says.

“There are some bright spots for health. The budget makes provision for more investment in school based health services, in better coordination of cancer care and in well child care. The Government should also be congratulated for continuing its strategy to reduce the harm caused by tobacco and beginning to address unhealthy housing.”

“Unfortunately, a few bright spots aren’t enough. Nurses want to see a reasonable and sustainable plan for a health system that works for everyone. Instead, we’ve got a sick budget with too many cuts and continuing body blows. A few band-aids won’t make this patient well.”

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