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Medical professionals speak out in desperation

Medical professionals speak out in desperation

Minister of Health Annette King must answer the concerns of medical professionals concerned about cuts to health services which mean patients are being bumped off waiting lists and left to wait for treatment in pain, National says.

"I agree with the Orthopaedic Association and the New Zealand Medical Association and their concerns that cuts to health services mean patients in need are missing out.

"In Otago and Southland the waiting list for heart surgery has ballooned to 140. In Otago hip joint replacements are down 37% because of a budget cut, and in Canterbury surgeons are only meeting half the demand of hip replacements.

"It is a false economy to have large waiting lists to orthopaedic surgery. If patients have to wait longer than six months their treatment is more expensive to the district health board in the end.

"People cannot get access to health services like this because money is going in the wrong direction in health. The new structure of district health boards is soaking up health funding on administration and management costs instead of putting it into services as 21 DHBs duplicate services and administration.

"This is forcing boards to take extreme measures to raise money for health services with the Counties Manukau board proposing bringing in parking charges to pay towards clearing its large elective surgery waiting list.

"It is ridiculous for boards to have to go to these lengths to raise money for essential services, and this confirms that the Minister's doing nothing to prevent our health system now treating patients as second class citizens, especially older people who it sees as expendable," Dr Scott said.

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