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Orthopaedic surgery grinds to a halt in Dunedin

Dr Lynda Scott

National Health Spokeswoman

29 April 2004

Orthopaedic surgery grinds to a halt in Dunedin

Otago District Health Board's budget blowout will see 210 people wait even longer for treatment as orthopaedic surgery grinds to a halt, says National's Health spokeswoman, Dr Lynda Scott.

Dr Scott is commenting on an Otago District Health Board announcement that all hip and knee replacement operations at Dunedin Hospital will be postponed until the new financial year.

This comes on top of Ministry of Health announcements that there will be no funding for home and vehicle moderations for the disabled and elderly until July.

"Dunedin patients waiting for hip and knee operations will be forced to wait in unnecessary pain as the Government fuels the fires of 21 bureaucracies and allows debt to spiral out of control," says Dr Scott.

"Without surgery, these patients will have severely limited mobility. This all seems a bit rich from a Government that can find money to fund surgery for sickness beneficiaries.

"In the past 12 months, orthopaedic patients have been culled from the waiting list as the points required for surgery has increased from 66 to a whopping 78.

The Health and Independence Report 2003 shows the number of major joint replacements has decreased almost 20% since the 1999/2000 year. At the same time, spending on bureaucracy has increased considerably.

This comes as another kick in the teeth for Dunedin residents who have already suffered at the hands of the Government's $400 million PHO experiment, which puts race and location ahead of need.

"More bureaucracy means less money where it matters most: front line services," says Dr Scott.

Ends

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