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Patients need to be sicker to get operations

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

19 November 2002

Patients need to be sicker to get operations

New Zealanders now need to be sicker to get an operation than they had to be a year ago, National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott revealed today.

Dr Scott told Parliament that hospitals have been increasing the points required, the Financially Sustainable Thresholds (FSTs), for patients to qualify for operations.

"We have already seen this happening in the Hawkes Bay and Otago.

"It is also happening at Mid Central Health where the points for a hip replacement increased a large amount from 65 to 90, and the points for cataracts increased from 20 to 29 between the years 2001-02 and 2002-03.

"These district health boards are raising the points because they simply can't afford to perform the operations and deliver the services. Older New Zealanders are particularly at risk of needing to be significantly more disabled before they qualify for surgery. "Basically patients have to be sicker to get treatment. The Health Minister must answer why this is happening and what she will be doing to stop it.

"It was disappointing today in Parliament that she fobbed off my question about why this is happening at Mid Central Health," Dr Scott said.


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