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Labour fails to deliver more surgery

Lynda Scott MP
National Party Health Spokeswoman
21 January 2004

Labour fails to deliver more surgery

The Government should be funding more surgery, rather than cutting health waiting lists with the stroke of a pen, says National Party Health spokeswoman Lynda Scott.

"After four years negligence, it's little wonder Helen Clark has suddenly entered the debate, with figures showing Labour's health reforms are failing miserably.

"Statistics show our hospitals are actually performing less surgery than they were four years ago, especially for chronic conditions," Dr Scott says.

The 2003 Health & Independence Report shows that in 1999/2000 there were 160,574 patients discharged surgically from acute and elective procedures. Last year 157,750 were discharged

"That is 3,000 fewer operations despite significant population growth," Dr Scott says.

"The Government claims fewer people are waiting and patients have certainty, but the only certainty they have is that they still won't get surgery anytime soon.

Dr Scott says that by anyone's standards the results show Labour's health reforms are failing to improve access.

"The Government can claim that it has increased health spending, but it is not resulting in more operations. All we've got is an increased bureaucracy with waiting lists that the Government manipulates by telling patients to go back to their GP," she says.

"Just last year thousands of New Zealanders were carved from waiting lists, now we all have to be a lot sicker before we get treatment.

"Older New Zealanders are among those worst hit. They're suffering increased disability because they cannot receive hip and knee replacements or get their cataracts attended to.

"The public must hold this Government to account for its cynical approach to the health portfolio, which only ever seems to get any real attention when votes are at stake in an election year," Dr Scott says.


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