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Thousands of South Auckland patients miss out

Dr Lynda Scott
National Health Spokesperson

11 December 2002

Thousands of South Auckland patients miss out on surgery

Thousands of Counties-Manukau patients are missing out on surgery because their health board can't afford to treat them, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Patients have to be sicker to get health services in South Auckland," Dr Scott said.

Dr Scott revealed in Parliament today that the Counties-Manukau DHB has raised the points required for hip replacements and grommets, and started a points system for cataracts in the past two years.

"The financial sustainable threshold for hip replacements has leapt from 65 points in 2000-01 to 79 in 2001-02. It has also increased for ear, nose and throat surgery from 36 to 45 in two years.

"Counties Manukau is the fourth DHB struggling with a high deficit which has had to raise the points required because they can't meet surgery demand. It joins Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Mid Central. These boards are increasing the points because they can't afford to carry out surgery.

"This means if you live in South Auckland and need a hip replacement you have to be very disabled to get one, and children needing grommets are waiting a lot longer. Hundreds and thousands of patients are suffering.

"We have been told this board has sent 5000 patients back to their GPs who didn't even get a look in at getting surgery.

"The Minister of Health is turning a blind eye to the problem of large hospital deficits and the effect this is now having on health services, services the public thought they could get. The Minister is not providing any solutions to this growing nationwide problem." Dr Scott said.

Ends

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