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Sort It Out, Minister, Before More Patients Die

Sort It Out, Minister, Before More Patients Die

Thursday 21 Aug 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

The situation in Northland and Auckland, where cancer patients must wait weeks for life-saving chemotherapy treatment, is just another example of the Labour Government's willingness to let patients die, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Health professionals' salaries and working conditions have steadily deteriorated under the Labour regime - is it any wonder that chemotherapy delays are largely attributed to staff shortages, when this Government is driving our health professionals overseas?" Mrs Roy said.

"We are training our doctors and nurses for export. We are sending heart patients home to die when they could be saved at private hospitals just down the road. We are sending radiation patients to Australia because our hospitals don't have radiotherapy equipment - and Labour has made it financially unviable for private hospitals to buy it.

"These are not the hallmarks of a First World health system - indeed, perhaps not even a Third World system.

"Cancer patients require treatment in a timely fashion if it is to prove effective. Health Minister Annette King's policies ensure they do not receive it - and by the time they do, it is too late. The fact is this: effective treatment in New Zealand is, largely, unavailable.

"Of course, it is not the Government's fault. Ms King neatly devolves responsibility to individual DHBs, hospitals, health professionals and, where she can, the previous National government. What she forgets is that, as Minister now, she is ultimately responsible.

"It is high time that this Government dropped its Stalinist approach to healthcare. New Zealand deserves a decent health system - with the amount of Labour-imposed taxes we pay, we should get it. It is time for the Minister fronted up. Will she address this most serious issue, or is she happy to continue to let patients die?" Mrs Roy said.


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