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Govt wastes money as eye patients suffer

Govt wastes money as eye patients suffer

The Government's latest move to tighten its belt has seen 300 patients dumped from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board specialist eye service waiting list, says National's Health Spokesperson, Dr Lynda Scott.

The Government's own papers show 1503 fewer cataract procedures were performed in the 2002-2003 year than in 1999, this in spite of an increasing and aging population.

"Patients have to be sicker to get service while the Government wastes money on bureaucracies like Primary Healthcare Organizations and on political correctness," says Dr Scott.

"It's time we got back to spending health dollars on the delivery of front line services - that means eye surgery, not boards, committees, community governance and iwi consultation.

"Eye conditions are notoriously difficult to diagnose by people who are not specialists. Denying patients access to these experts will inevitably lead to serious conditions like melanomas, glaucoma and temporal arteries going undiagnosed. In many cases this will lead to blindness. In some it may even cause death.

"We are reaching a point where patients will soon need to be blind before they have access to an eye specialist.

"GPs need to have more say as to who is assessed, rather than just being left to pick up the pieces when Government boards decide to delay or remove access to specialists," says Dr Scott.

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