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Staggering revelations on heart patients dying

Staggering revelations on heart patients dying

National is calling for Ministerial intervention so that health boards send patients to private healthcare instead of allowing people to die on waiting lists while they await heart surgery.

National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says she is staggered that eight Wellington heart patients died while awaiting cardiac surgery in the past three years.

"Wellington heart patients dying while waiting on the cardiac waiting lists is so bad it completely takes my breath away. I can only agree with Green Lane Hospital director of coronary care, Dr Harvey White, that the situation is appalling.

"That Wellington Hospital chose not to use $1.7 million to treat these patients privately shows they put dollars ahead of lives. The Health Minister Annette King must act to stop district health boards withholding funding like this when lives are at risk.

"The hospital quoting national and international guidelines that eight patients dying in three years is okay skims over the fact they had money to treat these patients. We need to know how long these patients had been waiting. Does the Minister agree with these guidelines?

"The hospital should be taking the option of moving patients they cannot treat to private care as they used too. The Minister has said this, and we expect her to hold this board to account for not doing so.

"This situation was always going to be one of the risks of having 21 district health board funders. The boards simply concentrate on protecting their provider wing, that is the public hospital, rather than delivering the best outcome for patients.

"The Minister must address this appalling situation, clear up this anomaly, and tell us how she is going to do it," Dr Scott said.

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