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Forty Thousand Wait To Join Waiting List

22 May 2002

Forty Thousand Wait To Join Waiting List - Pledge Card Promise Fails

Forty thousand New Zealanders are waiting to go on a waiting list for elective services, the latest quarterly Elective Services Report released today shows.

"The Government is failing in its pledge card promise to address elective surgery waiting lists. Waiting lists are growing but the Government is trying to cover up the real figures by using the active review category," National Health Spokesperson Roger Sowry said today.

The report shows a total number of 12,428 patients on active review (patients waiting to get on to a waiting list), and 28,144 on the residual waiting list (patients referred back to GP waiting list) for surgery.

"It is concerning to see such large numbers waiting for services."

The figures show 3714 more patients on the active review list than there were at the same time last year, and an increase on the list of 2638 patients from the first to the second quarters of 2001-02.

"Thousands more patients are waiting longer than six months for elective services treatment in the quarter to December 2001." The report shows an 11 percent increase (from 14,834 to 16,478) in the number waiting longer than six months for treatment.

"The Minister is pointing the finger at four boards who made up more than half the increase, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury, but it is her who should take responsibility for underfunding boards, increasing the deficits and cultivating a troubled industrial relations environment," Mr Sowry said.


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