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Hospital Waiting Lists Set To Grow

ACT Deputy Leader Ken Shirley predicts that the Canterbury District Health Board and other health boards around the country will inevitably face ballooning waiting lists for elective surgery and cuts in other services.

"For the year ended 2001 Canterbury DHB had a debt of $108.9 million with an operational deficit of $100,000. By February the projected operational deficit for June 2002 had climbed to $20 million."

Parliamentary questions from Ken Shirley to the Minister of Health have now revealed that no additional funding will be provided to offset the recent 10% settlement with the nurses which will cost Canterbury DHB $66,919,488 for the 2001/2002 year rising to $69,595,610 for the 2002/2003 year.

"The Minister is also insisting that the DHB's refocus their funding onto new primary health care initiatives.

"It is clear that Canterbury DHB along with others has no room to move and can only implement the Minister's policy directions by cutting hospital services" said Mr Shirley.

"ACT New Zealand says the only answer is to use our precious health dollars smarter by mobilising the resources of the private sector where competition and proper pricing mechanisms will ensure that resources are used more efficiently with better health outcomes focused on the patients needs rather than the self-perpetuating interests of the health institutions," Ken Shirley said.

Ends

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