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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says she believes Health Minister David Clark is backing away from his commitment to fund health services in regions like Central Otago.

“In the lead-up to the election Mr Clark campaigned hard on health funding, saying that restoring funding to regional health services was a priority.

“But Mr Clark’s words now have a hollow ring to them, if his response to my requests for funding for Dunstan Hospital are anything to go by.

“In a recent response to a letter from me, in December, asking for funding support for Central Otago Health Services, Mr Clark has said that the government does not directly fund individual health care providers and that these negotiations should be undertaken with the Southern DHB.

“This is quite a contradiction, coming from the man who stood up at public meetings prior to the election and promised people that regional health funding was a priority.

“It would seem Mr Clark now wants to wash his hands of his responsibilities to the regions, with his lack of support for Central Otago Health Services disappointing, especially at a time when population growth is putting pressure on local services and facilities.

“I would suggest that if we were to measure Mr Clark’s success to date against his pre-election promises, we would find his results severely wanting.

“Talk is cheap - I now look forward to the Health Minister stepping up and honouring his pre-election promises with health funding for regions like Central Otago.”

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