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Patient distress needs national study

Patient distress needs national study

A Taranaki study which finds patients are becoming depressed and even suicidal after being dumped from surgery waiting lists shows the Government is callous in dropping thousands of people from any chance of surgery, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"These people can't get operations because the bar has been raised meaning people have to be sicker to get surgery. Many district health boards have raised the points for a hip operation, for example, from 75-80 points to over 90 points.

"Patients all over the country are approaching National MPs in distress, because they can't get surgery, and can't bear the pain of waiting any longer.

"Labour's lied in its pledge card promise to "focus on patients not profit and cut waiting times for surgery" when tens of thousands of patients have been turned down for surgery, and assessments for surgery, in the past two years.

"The Minister of Health is responsible for funding district health boards for these operations. She's driven boards to cut their budgets, publicly slamming and blaming those who put patients first over profit.

"The Government's been so focussed on unnecessarily changing the primary health system, it's left hospital services languishing as third-world. Instead of putting patients first, the Minister's taken health services back 10 years. "I support Grey Power's call for an investigation into the social costs of having patients waiting lengthy periods for surgery. However Labour doesn't want to know the obvious answer that it would be cheaper to perform these operations," Dr Scott said.

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