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PM Flunks Maths Test in Hospital Doctor Claims

Media Statement For Immediate Release,
Wednesday, 05 December 2012

“Prime Minister Flunks Maths Test in Hospital Doctor Claims”

“The Prime Minister has flunked a maths test in his widely inaccurate claims of increased public hospital doctor numbers under his government,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

In Parliament yesterday, replying to a question from Labour leader David Shearer, John Key said that under his government the number of permanent hospital doctors had increased by over 800. “This repeats a claim made by Health Minister Tony Ryall at our Annual Conference a year ago where senior hospital doctors erupted with disbelief and anger.”

“The Prime Minister should have been advised that this 800 number has been completely discredited and disproven by using official DHB and government data. Over this period of three years the number of hospital specialists increased by 373. Hospital specialist numbers have increased but not fast enough to keep up with increasing demands.”

“Furthermore, in the three year period Mr Key referred to, the rate of hospital specialist increases fell by 25% from the three years immediately before his government took office.”

Please refer to the September issue of our quarterly publication The Specialist which addresses this issue in detail. It can be downloaded from our homepage under the Perspectives heading.

“The 373 becomes over 800 only because of very dodgy resident (junior) doctor numbers largely due to a technical change in the form of employment which changed how many were counted.”

“Ironically Mr Key has mangled his words by referring to ‘permanent’ hospital doctors. The only permanent doctors are senior doctors. Resident doctors are not permanent by their very nature; they are in training positions.”

“Mr Key may have as well been asked what does three times three equal and answered 800,” concluded Mr Powell.


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