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Southern heart patients treated unfairly

Southern heart patients treated unfairly

Southern South Island heart patients are being treated unfairly and put at risk because of surgery delays, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"In Otago and Southland the points threshold, which determines eligibility, has increased so much that more than 100 patients will be denied surgery when they need it.

"The treatment you get depends on where you live and it seems living in Otago or Southland isn't good enough if you are a heart patient.

"The points have almost doubled from 35 to 67, denying 120 people from getting cardiac surgery for at least seven months. The Minister has publicly and staunchly denied that the points were being raised for southern patients, but she is obviously unaware how desperate things are for the health providers.

"Her critical comments in 1999 that patients were being ignored, taken off waiting lists and left with no certainty about their care (Dominion 3.6.99) are coming home to roost under her own leadership. Why is she not concerned that it is happening now when she is Minister?

"One hundred and 20 people have been taken off the waiting list when previously they have been considered serious enough to get surgery.

"They have fallen victim to the Government's 'doctoring' of waiting lists to make it look like less people are awaiting surgery. They have a right to feel let down and both the district health board and the Health Minister must explain to them why," Dr Scott said.

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