10 Aug 2004

Niue seeks help over health budget blowout

3:36 pm on 10 August 2004

Niue's finance minister is seeking more assistance to boost health services and rebuild the hospital following its destruction during Cyclone Heta.

88 patients have reportedly been sent to New Zealand for medical care since January, with airfares alone costing almost 100-thousand US dollars.

Toke Talagi says for referrals 65-thousand US dollars are provided for in the health budget.

Mr Talagi says they can't compromise the health of the mainly elderly people.

"The lab equipment have now been installed so that blood tests and x-rays can be conducted if you wish for patients. We've had to send patients to New Zealand simply because we don't have the diagnostic equipment to assist with their diagnosis with the doctors."

Toke Talagi says they welcome any financial donations towards the new hospital, which he says should be completed by mid next year.