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How Many More Must Die, Minister?

How Many More Must Die, Minister?

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today demanded to know how many more patients had to die needlessly before the Labour Government learnt that ideology is in no way more important than saving patients' lives.

"Reports today have said that Wellington Hospital's intensive care unit has been so full that it has had to cancel 19 operations - including heart surgery. Yet, just down the road, beds sit empty at the private Wakefield Hospital," Mrs Roy said.

"It seems that the deaths of two Wellington heart patients earlier this year have taught Health Minister Annette King nothing. Once again, the Minister's refusal to discard Labour's philosophical objection to private sector participation in healthcare is putting patients' lives at needless risk.

"Ms King claims to support the use of private facilities, but her actions tell a different story. If her claims were true, then surely Capital and Coast DHB would have no qualms about sending patients to private hospitals for treatment.

"No matter how Ms King may try to spin this situation - most probably by devolving responsibility to the DHB - the fact remains that this is a Government that allows itself to be distracted by it own views, to the detriment of patients.

"Patients have died after having their surgery cancelled. With more operations cancelled, it stands to reason that more patients will die. I am calling on the Labour Government to learn from its tragic mistakes. Ideological smugness is no substitute for ensuring the care and safety of patients," Mrs Roy said.

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