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Tuesday, October 28

Labour releases comprehensive Health Policy

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Health Minister David Cunliffe today released Labour’s health policy, underlining Labour’s commitment to a strong, safe, affordable and accessible public health system for every New Zealander regardless of ability to pay.

“Labour will continue to invest in a world class public health strategy aimed at helping New Zealanders stay well. We will prioritise fighting the disease and disability caused by obesity, tobacco, and alcohol and by the preventable cancers.

“Labour is committed to far reaching screening and wellness programmes, including important new initiatives like the B4 school checks for four year-olds, bowel cancer screening, HPV vaccination against causes of cervical cancer, and other world class public health programmes.

“We will continue to give strong support to cervical and breast cancer screening. Labour will work to see that PHOs and district health boards (DHBs) are linked through district wide primary health care plans in order to identify gaps in primary care and barriers to access.

“As soon as economic circumstances permit we will work to reduce the cost of doctors’ visits further, with priority being given to the 65 plus and six to seventeen year age groups,” Helen Clark said.

David Cunliffe said Labour will work with DHBs to strengthen regional, clinical, and administrative networks. Productivity can be lifted through joint purchasing and common approaches to workforce development and IT planning.

“Labour will also continue to prioritise shorter waiting times for treatment in the cardiac, cancer and orthopaedic services.

“Labour will increase the number of training places at New Zealand medical schools, with an extra 50 places in 2010 and a further 50 places in 2011,” David Cunliffe said .

“An important new initiative is our pledge to provide free annual health checks for intellectually disabled people with high support needs.

“We will also strengthen work force development and regulation in the aged care sector, and ensure that the audits of facilities are publicly available.

“Under Labour we have achieved a great deal in health. Today we are renewing our commitment to world class public and primary health care, an integrated DHB network to provide the hospital services we can all trust and rely on, and a renewed emphasis on delivering quality services for our seniors and others in care,” David Cunliffe said.


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