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Inflexible System Must Bend, Or Break

Inflexible System Must Bend, Or Break

Tuesday 1 Jul 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today supported Auckland doctors for trialling a new method of allocating surgery priority, according to individual patients' needs, and said the initiative highlights the inflexibility of the current points system.

"These doctors should be commended, and supported, for trying to address the problems with the inflexible points system," Mrs Roy said.

"The inflexibilities of the system were recently underlined in Christchurch, where long-term spinal injury patient Shirley Dyer could not receive surgery quickly to treat her serious bowel condition. The doctors, who realised the seriousness of her social circumstances, could not override the points system - which takes little or no account of such factors.

"This patient's surgery was only brought forward when an anonymous donor offered to pay for the surgery to be performed privately. This case is a classic example of the inflexibility plaguing hospitals throughout the country.

"It takes at least 13 years to train a surgeon - only to have bureaucrats dictate the order in which they treat their patients. This situation is a complete disgrace. Every day, surgeons see patients, who should be given priority, slip down the waiting list - they need more autonomy to decide the priority of individual cases.

"Health Minister Annette King must admit the failure of the top down management system, and allow a system where health professionals are empowered to make the decisions they are trained to make. This Government must start trusting our doctors and nurses," Mrs Roy said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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