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Proposed Public Hospital Cuts Risky

2 June 2004

“Proposed Public Hospital Cuts Risky For Patients Warn Senior Doctors”

“Senior doctors are warning that the proposed public hospital cuts at the Canterbury District Health Board will be risky for patients,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

“The Canterbury Board is trying to cut patient services by reducing outpatient follow-up visits. However, an important reason of these visits is to ensure that patients’ health improves rather than deteriorates and to decrease the risk of more hospital admissions.”

“Further delays in patient waiting time for surgery will increase the risk of deterioration of the conditions of these patients and increase the likelihood of them requiring more expensive complex and/or emergency surgery. Delaying elective angioplasty and the use of stents for cardiac patients will also increase these risks.”

“The Board is also considering staff cuts. But patient services depend more than anything else on the health workforce; by far the biggest producer of value in the health system. Even small job losses can affect the quality, range and accessibility of patient services. Even reductions in administration staff working in patient service related areas can clog things up and reduce efficiency.”

“Health cuts are always risky for patients and often cost more for the taxpayer down the track,” concluded Mr Powell.

ENDS

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