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Minister Chooses Savings Over Humanity

Minister Chooses Savings Over Humanity

Tuesday 21 Oct 2003 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today challenged the Minister of Health to take the advice of health experts and address the real problems caused by patients waiting indefinitely for treatment.

"Labour fails to acknowledge the true cost for patients who have been removed from waiting lists despite the fact clinicians have said they require surgery or further treatment, endure pain, suffering and depression, and frequently cost the taxpayer more than they would have if treated promptly.

"The study by orthopaedic trainee Dr David Ardern has highlighted the serious consequences for Taranaki orthopaedic patients but the problem is occurring throughout New Zealand and in all specialty areas," said Mrs Roy.

"Health Minister Annette King must act to address this problem which for the first time has been quantified. Although the Minister is known to place financial considerations above the pain and suffering of patients,

this study shows that it would be cheaper to operate on these patients. "The Minister can no longer ignore what doctors and others working in the medical field have been telling her for a long time. She must accept that doctors who are responsible for treating people are the ones to make the decisions about where precious health dollars are best used, not the bean counters at her Ministry.

"Ideology is preventing this government from exploring acceptable alternatives. The private hospitals are under-utilised and the Ministry of Health discourages innovation of individual hospital departments. The solution is in emphasising the treatment of patients rather than making decisions based on bean counting

"New Zealand's Soviet-style health system is not working. But for the dedication of our health professionals the system would collapse completely," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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