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Govt culls waiting lists to paint rosier picture

Roger Sowry National Deputy Leader

18 September 2003

Govt culls waiting lists to paint rosier picture

The Health Minister yet again blaming National for current elective surgery waiting lists is cold comfort for the almost 2000 patients culled off waiting lists with no hope of an operation, says National Deputy Leader Roger Sowry.

"The Minister's promises in Parliament that more people will get surgery are no use to an elderly South Auckland war veteran who, after waiting two years for knee surgery, has been pushed off the waiting list even though the Minister herself suggested he should approach Middlemore Hospital for assessment.

"This patient is in extreme pain, he can't even walk to his own front gate or up a small set of stairs.

"The Minister claims Labour has reduced waiting lists, but what it's actually done is abolish large sections of the list to make it look shorter - at Counties Manukau alone 1853 have been cut from the list.

"The Minister blaming National for this man not getting surgery four years after it left Government is plain ridiculous, and doesn't solve his problems or those of the hundreds of other patients in his position.

"Both the Minister and the Ministry of Health promised they would address the inequality of access to elective surgery between Counties Manukau and the rest of the country. Clearly there's been no progress and the Minister has no answers for this," Mr Sowry says.

Ends

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