3 Dec 2009

Poor 'missing out on health care'

3:00 pm on 3 December 2009

Health care is being distributed unfairly, with the poor, brown and young missing out, a meeting of senior doctors has been told.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists president, Jeff Brown, said rationing of health funding is a fact of life.

However, Mr Brown, a Palmerston North paediatrician, said the rationing is happening by income, address and age, leaving the poor, brown and the young missing out.

"We have third world rates of pneumonia, skin infections, rheumatic fever - that should be shameful to all New Zealand," he told the 115 doctors at the Wellington conference.

"It only takes a little bit of redirection of some resources to the vulnerable to be able to make a big difference."

Council of Trade unions secretary, Peter Conway, told delegates it is important to distinguish between an ideological commitment to smaller government and privatisation on the one hand, and the need for genuine financial constraint on the other.