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Elderly Hit Again In Sick Health System

Barbara Stewart MP

17 March 2004

Elderly Hit Again In Sick Health System

New Zealand First is demanding the Government give greater priority to health in the upcoming budget after 300 patients with eye conditions were chopped from waiting lists in the Nelson area and told they no longer qualify for treatment in the public health system.

“In spit of an aging population 1503 fewer cataract procedures were performed in the 2002-2003 year,” said health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“This is outrageous and it is the elderly who will be affected the most – the very people who usually do not have the income needed for private healthcare.

“We are rapidly reaching a point where access to a eye specialist and cataract surgery will only be given to the elderly who have no vision.

“It is time for the Government to realise that health must be a top priority in its spending if New Zealanders are not to suffer unnecessarily.

“Our health system is collapsing around us yet the Government still gloats of a budget surplus. Tell that to the 300 patients who no longer qualify for eye operations and then explain why this money cannot be spent on allowing them to have a reasonable quality of life.

“Every New Zealander is entitled to basic healthcare and the Government must act now before it is too late,” said Mrs Stewart.


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