The Alliance Party has joined calls from Age Concern and others to stop an Otago and Southland District Health Board move to scrap home help services for the elderly.
Alliance Party health spokesperson Tom Dowie says the ultimate responsibility for the issue lies with the National Government and its Minister of Health Tony Ryall.
Mr Dowie says the plan is false economics that will make the standard of living worse for many elderly people and increase the risk of injury or accident around the home.
The plan is being carried out save $4 million annually off DHB spending by dropping services to around 3,500 mostly elderly people.
At the same time, the DHBs have announced plans to make it harder to be admitted to a rest home.
“This is another blow to the vulnerable people of the South,” says Mr Dowie.
He says the moves are among many concerning trends including the recent drive by the DHB’s to charge patients presenting at Accident and Emergency departments who cannot afford to see private GPs.
“We are moving away from a free, taxpayer-funded public health system step by step,” says Mr Dowie.
He says the Alliance is concerned at the degradation of service to the public, especially when it comes to our most vulnerable citizens.
“Where do you go if you are sick and you don’t have the money to see a GP?” says Mr Dowie.
“Do you wait until you are acutely ill and have to be admitted to hospital at ten times the cost?”
The Alliance Party will fully fund the New Zealand health system through a progressive taxation system that grows the services to its citizens and by “ring fencing” health spending as a proportion of GDP.
For more information, contact Alliance Party health spokesperson Tom Dowie on 0212036078