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Waiting list re-think sends message

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Waiting list re-think sends message

The decision by Canterbury District Health Board to reinstate some of the patients dumped from its waiting list sends a message to the Government that its health policies needs urgent attention, says the New Zealand Medical Association.

Chairman Dr Ross Boswell said the NZMA welcomed news that Canterbury DHB has reconsidered its earlier decision to remove the patients from the waiting list, and has found the funding to treat people who urgently need it.

"People are put on waiting lists for very good reasons," said Dr Boswell. "They need to see a specialist to be assessed, or they need treatment such as surgery. For the Government to impose an arbitrary time limit of six months on waiting lists and refuse care to those who wait longer than this is just bureaucratic nonsense. It is not fair on patients, it is not fair on GPs, and it is not fair on specialists.

"The whole waiting list system seems to be unravelling," said Dr Boswell. "The Minister of Health needs to take action and, for a start, he and his key officials must urgently consult the major medical organisations about how best to move forward nationally."

New Zealanders need to be treated reasonably, fairly and equitably across the country. They need to be assured that if their health need is serious enough, their DHB will be able to provide treatment in a timely way.


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