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Labour Out Of Touch

Labour Out Of Touch

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today called on the Labour Government to admit that its ideologically driven public health service is failing, in light of reports that our hospitals are unable to keep up with the demand in emergency departments.

"When an earthquake rocks the nation we declare a state of emergency, but when our hospitals are unable to keep up with the demand in emergency departments the blame is laid at the feet of the doctors and nurses at the coalface," Mrs Roy said.

"Over-worked health professionals have had enough, with many leaving the country. But no-one listens - especially not Labour, who will not admit that its ideologically driven public health system is failing.

"The Health Ministry says there is no crisis, and Health Minister Annette King says the running of hospital services are the responsibility of individual DHBs.

"Prime Minister Helen Clark's shock that someone should wait three hours in an A&E waiting room shows how out of touch she is. When has she last sat in a waiting room to see what doctors and nurses contend with? By undermining the dedicated people who keep the health service going, she shows her complete lack of understanding of the system's faults.

"The Ministry, Minister and Prime Minister all conveniently ignore the facts that patient numbers are rising at around five percent a year, staff shortages are endemic throughout the country - we need 160-180 emergency specialists and have 49. On top of all this, DHBs must tighten their belts while the Health Ministry passes on more duties to them. At the same time the number of Health Ministry employees continues to rise.

"Avoidable deaths and crowded emergency departments will not go away while Ms King and Ms Clark condemn our health professionals. When these problems occur regularly, throughout the country, it is indicative of system failure.

"The Labour Government is failing to provide an adequate and safe working environment for our health professionals - but most of all, it has failed to provide adequate health services for its citizens," Mrs Roy said.

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