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Lives threatened while Govt plays politics

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokeswoman
14 April 2004

Lives threatened while Govt plays politics

Lives are being put on the line while the Government is playing politics by canning private hospital contracts around the country, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott.

She is commenting on reports today that Wellington Hospital, desperate to reduce ballooning waiting lists, is asking the private Wakefield Hospital to take acute cardiac patients.

Dr Scott says it is ironic that, only two years after Wellington Hospital cancelled its contract with Wakefield, it is now asking it for help.

"Sadly, losing that contract has lead to downsizing at Wakefield, and now limits its capacity to reduce waiting lists.

"Growing deficits and a lack of staff and facilities is forcing public hospitals around the country to cut patients from waiting lists and delay surgery.

"It is an initiative that is putting people's lives at risk. Too many have died while on waiting lists in recent years, their operations put on hold because of a lack of bed space in public hospitals, even though they are put on lists only if they urgently need surgery.

"As long as Labour refuses to use private hospitals as an option for earlier surgery, patients will suffer.

"Saving lives should be Labour's first health objective, not enforcing its out-dated ideology", says Dr Scott.

Ends

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