Concerned with future community health services

Waitaki news
Monday, May 25, 2015

Southern District Health Board's proposed funding cuts will lead to further erosion in Oamaru and districts  community health services according to Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean.

Mrs Dean said the Boards proposed five per cent funding cut for the 2015/16 year can't help but have a big impact on Waitaki District Health Services Ltd and the services it supplies.

"Funding cuts to health services should never be a "knee-jerk decisions" neither should it be made without community consultation. The proposed cuts, as they stand, will definitely lead to a serious downgrading of local services right throughout our electorate and I'm going to fight that to the best of my ability.

"If the SDHB goes ahead we'll end up sending more patients to be treated in Dunedin, incur greater transport costs, lose funded inpatient bed numbers, have cuts in Emergency Dept services and lose our ability to carry out minor operations.  

"There also remains real potential for a  number of NZNO members to lose their jobs.
It doesn't make fiscal or practical sense. Oamaru Hospital and its doctors and nursing staff have done nothing wrong here. The service they provide is excellent.  

"These proposed cuts are all about SDHB trimmings its overspending at our expense."

Mrs Dean said she well recalled marching with thousands of others along Oamaru's main streets some 16 years ago to ensure hospital services were retained in the district.

"That may be recent history in the eyes of some but as far as I am concerned nothing's changed. I will continue to furiously resist any attempts to withdraw or change our health services."

The proposed cuts are the result of Southern DHB's growing budget blowout of $27 million this year, predicted to grow to $42 million next year.