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Canterbury waiting times appalling

Health Minister’s response to Canterbury waiting times appalling

The thousands of Canterbury people waiting for surgery have every right to take offence at Health Minister Annette King refusing to talk about the issue, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

“The Minister is showing no concern at waiting lists growing by 26% in a year and won’t answer what she is doing about it. It is an appalling response to say she will not talk about this serious issue in the media - the public have a right to know.

“In other parts of the country her only response has been to oversee thousands of patients taken off the waiting lists and send them back to their GP with no hope of surgery. In South Auckland alone the number is 5000.

“The Minister has forgotten that she was elected by taxpayers, taxpayers who are in pain and in need of surgery which they don’t know whether they will ever get.

“Any Health Minister should be concerned at waiting lists growing by 1600 people and has a responsibility to explain why.

“The strongest thing this Minister has said about waiting lists was to criticise National’s $120m Waiting Times Fund and then dump it. National significantly reduced the waiting lists in Canterbury by using this fund to fund out of hours surgery in public hospitals and surgery in private hospitals.

“The Health Minister should be providing solutions like this to the growing number of desperate people who are in pain because they can’t get surgery, rather than avoiding this issue and hiding behind her press secretary,” said Dr Scott.

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