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Budget neglects waiting lists

Budget neglects waiting lists

The Chairman of the New Zealand National Board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Murray Pfeifer says the 2006 budget will do nothing to solve the plight of people waiting for elective surgery or first surgical assessments with specialists.

‘While the Government is touting this as an investment budget, it is difficult to see how it has invested in getting thousands of distressed New Zealanders off waiting lists and into surgery,” he said.

“The government is to be congratulated for some very positive initiatives in primary health however they appear to have a very blinkered approach to major issues in secondary care,” he says.

“The budget fails to address the inequities of people waiting for elective surgery. There seems to be little or no additional funding for hospital services and inpatient elective surgical services.

“In light of all the recent news about New Zealanders who can’t get access to specialist services, not to mention the large number of people who have been booked for surgery only to find out later that they’ve been denied it, this is an unbalanced and disappointing health budget,” he says.

Dr Pfeifer says the budget will do nothing to resolve the increasing gap of unmet need and without an injection of new funding it is difficult to see anything other than “deterioration in an already parlous situation.”

He said RACS was pleased to see Mr Hodgson’s inclusion of workforce as a major priority for health. However without any specifics about how this would be funded it was hard to see how real progress could be made on the issue.

“We are clearly disappointed about what our part of the health sector has been offered in this budget however we look forward to meeting with the Minister to do what we can to sort out waiting lists and improve workforce issues,” he said.

Ends

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