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Report confirms Health Minister misleads public

Report confirms Health Minister misleads public

A report that the Government is letting many New Zealanders fall off surgery waiting lists, confirms that the Health Minister is misleading the public over our run down health services, National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott says.

The Outlook for Surgical Services Australia, by Monash University, says New Zealand district health boards have no choice but to cut many patients from surgical waiting lists because they are operating in deficit.

"Annette King has denied in Parliament and in the media several times that boards are raising the points for surgery eligibility, and that boards are running up large deficits. This report confirms again that her statements are blatantly misleading. "Most concerning is that the report predicts substantial growth in demand for surgical services - 33 percent by 2021 - which the Government is not planning for. Instead it is doing everything it can to reduce services.

"The solution is obviously allowing growth in the private health sector and public-private partnerships, but there is no hope of that with a Labour Government ideologically driven against private health services.

"This report has summed up the problems of thousands of New Zealanders being refused surgery as a shortage of hospital beds, and a lack of willingness by government to expand services or free up access to private hospitals. "Annette King clearly hasn't read the report. She blames the Workforce Advisory Committee for not advising of any shortage of surgeon 'crises'. This ineffective committee's only function is to quietly take the blame for wider failures in health.

"The report finds that the Government's severe funding constraints are denying people surgery. The Minister should read the report. She'll see that it says the way to address these thousands of people not getting surgery is to allow expansion in the private hospital sector," says Dr Scott.

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