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Struggles Over Patient Access To Public Hospitals

29 May 2006

“Struggles Over Patient Access To Public Hospitals Behind Government’s Poll Fall”

“Struggles over patient access to public hospital services are a major factor behind the government’s dramatic fall in the latest opinion poll,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Mr Powell was referred to the latest Colmar Brunton poll showing Labour 9% behind National.

“It doesn’t require rocket science to work this out. Recent polls show health to be the main issue of concern to the public and there has been extensive recent media coverage about thousands of patients being denied access to first specialist assessments and to operations in public patients because of resource constraints. Instead GPs feel like they are being used as a dumping ground while patients and their families face increased anxiety.”

“The government to its credit has increased health spending to record levels in recent years. But it has taken its eye off the pressure on public hospitals. The government seems more focussed on how to manage public hospital waiting lists rather than developing an effective strategy to address this widespread unmet patient need.”

“Senior doctors have proposed to government that it adopts a health professional led approach to address this unmet need. If the government wants to restore public confidence in its health policy then it needs to respond positively and quickly to our proposal,” concluded Mr Powell.

ENDS)

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