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Medical Mission Impossible

Wed, 1 Sep 2004

Medical Mission Impossible

Wednesday 1 Sep 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

Auckland DHB's decision to take 2,000 patients off its eye patient waiting list is just the tip of the iceberg, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Usually when patients cannot be seen within the specified timeframe they are moved on to `Active Review', where their condition is monitored. In this case, all 2,000 patients have been referred back to their GP or to an optometrist. Should they need specialist care they will have to be referred again," Mrs Roy said.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions show that, at the beginning of August, 31,091 patients were on Active Review throughout New Zealand. This means 31,091 patients have been taken off the waiting list and will be monitored on a six monthly basis.

"Many patients don't even make it this far. Tens of thousands of Kiwis, who GPs have assessed as needing further treatment, are merely referred back to their GP for follow-up care.

"There is now more pressure than ever on waiting lists because tens of millions of dollars of so-called `new funding' is exaggerated, or carried over from last year. In addition, most of the actual `new funding' is for Primary health care and disability support funding (aged care). The hospitals' share is coming under increasing pressure.

"Cutting services, and increasingly long waiting lists, have become the norm under this Labour Government - and it will only get worse. Health Minister Annette King must come clean about the real funding pressures on waiting lists, instead of washing her hands of any responsibility. She is setting our hospitals a Mission Impossible," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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