National leader Christopher Luxon has today indicated that a National-led government will not invest in the resources in the health system that support the frontline.
In an interview on Morning Report, Mr Luxon said that spending on so called frontline health services will increase at the rate of inflation, but not back-office spending (listen to the clip at the bottom of this page).
"This again exposes the big contradiction in National’s fiscal plan - you can’t deliver the health services New Zealanders rely on without a well-resourced and productive back office," said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.
"It is a cosmetic distinction that National likes to exploit. There is in fact no distinction between those helping Kiwis in our hospitals, and those supporting them, so they have the tools they need to their job of caring for those who need it.
"Mr Luxon is either ignorant of how health services are delivered, or he is deliberately misleading New Zealanders.
"For example, does Mr Luxon not think the diagnostic services operated by hospitals to test biopsies or assess x-rays, or those working to efficiently schedule appointments, those making sure health professionals have the equipment they need for surgeries and other treatments, those scheduling rosters, doing the admin and coordination needed to so every patient has the right kind of meal for their condition are not frontline? All these jobs have a direct effect on how the health system cares for New Zealanders.
"We need a well-funded health system at every level now more than ever. We have an ageing population whose needs are growing while the cost of providing health services both through technology and other means is ever increasing. Inflation adjustments alone will not be enough.
"Mr Luxon again cites those working in health communications, and yet has set ambitious targets for increasing vaccination rates - this will fail without good public health communication. Would Mr Luxon rather health professionals spend more time on health communication? Health communication professionals provide vital information to keep Kiwis safe and help them access the health services they need.
"Mr Luxon is again showing to the teams of people working to deliver our health services that he thinks he knows best about how to do their jobs and run their services better. These poorly informed measures will get in the way of health professionals doing their jobs and impact the services New Zealanders rely on.
"Today we have again seen the reality of a National-led government. It’s drive to cut $8 billion in spending from the public sector will impact public services up and down the country."
Christopher Luxon Morning Report on health spending 13 Sept MP3 audio file | 2.4 MB