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Report slams King's PHO strategy

Posted on 15 Mar 2005

A highly critical report into Annette King's PHO strategy explains why she spent five months trying to stop it being released, ACT health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

The Review of Primary Health Organisation Management Services report released today, slams the Government's Primary Health Organisations strategy, with a litany of serious criticisms.

Mrs Roy asked for the report under the Official Information Act last September. Her request was refused and she appealed to the ombudsman, who then forced the release of the report which reads like a damning audit report in its revelation of the lack of accountability measures.

"Mrs King, who proclaims herself to be the Minister of Transparency and Accountability, has employed every trick in the book to prevent this report from seeing the light of day because of the embarrassing reflection it has cast on her trumpeted PHO Strategy," Mrs Roy said.

"The review reads as badly as the wanaga revelations.  Lack of financial information from some PHOs, variable quality of financial information from others, inconsistent reporting, inability to compare costs between PHOs, lack of defined standards or service levels - all criticisms in the review - read as a indictment on Annette King's rushed construction of PHOs."

Mrs Roy said the report damns the Minister's PHO strategy into which she has poured millions of taxpayer's dollars, including millions on billboard and TV advertising.  In short the report slams PHOs as unable to be measured in any way or monitored, Mrs Roy said. 

"The report clearly questions the financial viability of small to medium sized PHOs saying that no matter what the size there are fixed costs.  It is clear many small PHOs have only survived thus far because of the dedication of staff, many having to work essentially on a voluntary basis. 

This damning report begs the question "Why the change to PHOs at great cost to the country?"  Annette King has some explaining to do.

ENDS


Heather Roy MP                    
heather.roy@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6631  /  021 887 727
Fax:                 04 473 3532

Michelle Brooker, Press Secretary
michelle.brooker@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6644 /  021 995 601