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Patients Deserve A Guaranteed Operation

Tuesday 11th Jul 2000
Ken Shirley
Media Release -- Health

The current nursing and doctor shortage in New Zealand hospitals is putting patients at risk and placing remaining staff under undue pressure – when it is completely unnecessary if the Health Minister was prepared to fully utilise access to both public and private hospitals.” said ACT Health spokesperson, the Hon Ken Shirley.

“The money is there to pay for the operations and the capacity is available within the overall health sector. The tragedy is that patients are being denied access to existing services because of this Government’s inflexible ideology” said Mr Shirley

“In Wellington alone the private sector has the capacity to perform 100 routine heart operations a year and at 10% less cost than the public sector. This government must give patients who have been left languishing on waiting lists certainty, and it is no excuse to blame the nursing shortage in our public hospitals. It is also interesting to note that nurses generally get paid more in our private hospitals”.

The latest WHO report found that a major failing of health ministries is their preoccupation on the public sector, and failure to fully utilise the private sector.

Cutting waiting lists was one of this governments credit card promises. So far under this government the number of people waiting six months or more is getting worse and some patients have had their surgery re-scheduled half a dozen times. This is both costly and wasteful” .

“I urge Annette King to reconsider the use of private health services so that patients are not left suffering indefinitely.” concluded Ken Shirley.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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