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Private surgeons should use idle theatres

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson 4 July 2003

Private surgeons should use idle theatres

Idle theatres at Middlemore Hospital should be utilised by private surgeons if the public hospital system is too stretched to perform operations on the thousands of people waiting, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"Two theatres have been sitting unused for 18 months while hundreds and thousands of patients have been told they can't get surgery.

"We have many patients writing to us when they are rejected for surgery. These patients are either dropped entirely off waiting lists after earlier being promised surgery, or they are given unlimited delays.

"It makes no sense that two operating theatres are sitting there not being used when all these people are left in pain and with limited quality of life because they can't get surgery.

"These people can't get surgery because of a serious lack of resourcing. The Government has spent much time announcing that it has cleared waiting lists, achieved by simply dumping patients off the list. National had a Waiting Times Fund to be able to use in circumstances such as this where there was high demand and spare capacity. Labour scrapped that fund.

"Middlemore has put up the points needed to get and operation in many areas. Thousands of people are sitting around knowing that now they have to be a lot sicker to get surgery. The Government should either support the public system to give these people surgery, or fund private surgeons to clear the list," Dr Scott said.


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