The Herald reports:
An estimated 2500 people showed up to protest proposed funding cuts to Oamaru hospital today.
Waitaki mayor Gary Kircher said he was very pleased at the community’s support.
Marchers ranged from families to the elderly, which Mr Kircher said sent a message about the community’s attitude to the local health service.He said they were very passionate about the primary level hospital, and even though it was a basic service, the community did not want any further cuts.
Mr Kircher said expecting residents to go to Dunedin for specialist care due to funding cuts was unacceptable.
The article is not clear about what is regarded as specialist care, but as a general point I’d note that it is unrealistic to expect a town of 14,000 to have much in the way of specialist care. They should have a hospital, but you are just never going to be able to have the same quality and breath of service as in a city such as Dunedin.
Oamaru has around the same population as Tokoroa and Feilding.
Now it seems the march is specifically about the SDHB proposing a 5% funding cut, and it is legitimate to have concerns about that. But a sweeping statement that one shouldn’t have to go to Dunedin for specialist care is silly.