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Band-aid fix won't solve problem

Band-aid fix won't solve problem

The Government's band-aid solution will do nothing to reduce burgeoning sickness and invalid benefits, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott.

"More and more people are signing up for these benefits because they have been unable to get operations and adequate healthcare in the first place."

Welfare Minister Steve Maharey today relaunched the PATHS pilot programme, which will be jointly managed by the Ministry of Social Development and the Counties-Manukau District Health Board. It will fast-track beneficiaries through the public system to get them back to work quicker.

Dr Scott says allowing a select group to jump the waiting list will only exacerbate the problems that Labour's appalling health restructuring has created.

"Patients with hernias, carpal tunnel syndrome, and cholecystitis, who cannot work because of these conditions, should be treated no matter where they are in the country. Their GPs know their situation, but they aren't being listened to.

"Labour has got this back-to-front.

"Why are private hospitals only being used as an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff?

"If public hospitals diverted more of their elective surgery to private hospitals, the public system would be able to perform more acute operations.

"This would, in turn, short-circuit the process and stop people ending up on sickness and invalid benefits in the first place.

"As long as the Government encourages public hospitals to cut their contracts with private providers the situation will only get worse.

"More and more people are being forced onto benefits because Labour's policies are too focused on misguided ideology and not enough on better healthcare," says Dr Scott

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