Uncap Health Funding

Somewhere, somehow we have become conditioned to the idea of health funding being capped.

We complain often that the healthcare budget is not big enough, but do not ask why it should be capped in the first place. Medical procedures are not something people undergo for fun. Surely everyone who needs medical treatment should get it as soon as possible? Continue reading

Compass Group – Pointing Us In The Wrong Direction?

Why is Health Benefits Ltd hell bent on installing transnational corporation Compass Group as sole provider of food services nationwide for our health sector for the foreseeable future and beyond?

So far Health Benefits has, according to the Otago Daily Times 1 May, spent an eye-watering $4.1 million of district health boards funding on this proposal. Ironically, much of it on trying to persuade the cash strapped district health boards that outsourcing food services to Compass will save them money. Continue reading

What’s Cooking in Our Hospital Kitchens?

What’s cooking in our hospital kitchens? Not much if Compass Group has anything to do with it.

Compass Group has convinced the now-disbanded crown entity, Health Benefits Ltd, that outsourcing hospital food services to them nationwide will result in substantial savings for inadequately funded District Health Boards. Health Benefits Ltd in turn put pressure on District Health Boards to outsource to Compass Group. And apparently charged them for the privilege of doing so. For example Southern District Health Board will have to pay $230,000 towards the cost of developing the proposal even if it decides not to outsource. Continue reading

Service cuts for elderly must be resisted

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