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Government must listen to surgery professor’s advice

Government must listen to surgery professor’s advice that unmet need a national disgrace

“The Government needs to listen to and act on the advice of Canterbury Professor of Surgery Philip Bagshaw that unmet patient need for surgery in public hospitals is a national disgrace,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“The Government is failing to invest properly in New Zealand’s public health service, especially its hospital specialist workforce.”

“There’s something inherently wrong when your doctor says you need an operation but you can’t even get on a hospital’s waiting list. The Government’s defence that it is increasing the number of elective (non-acute) operations is simply not good enough. Its target system incentivises public hospitals to do easier rather than more complex operations. Further, it is not keeping up with fast growing levels of unmet need in our communities.”

Mr Powell was commenting on media coverage of the level of unmet health need being encountered by doctors and news the Ministry of Health will begin measuring unmet need for the first time from next month (The Press, 31 May 2014).

“Tragically our public hospitals depend on high levels of unmet patient need because of entrenched shortages of hospital specialists. If they had to meet all unmet need they would fail abysmally.”

“If the Government is serious about tackling the level of unmet health need in this country, it is going to have to invest appropriately in public hospitals including their senior doctor workforce.”

“It shouldn’t feel like winning Lotto to be accepted onto a waiting list for surgery, but that’s the reality in the current environment.”


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