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Bring in Fred Hollows Foundation or fund surgery

Thursday, 2 September, 2004

Turner: Bring in Fred Hollows Foundation or fund eye surgery

The Government should either fund eye treatment for New Zealanders properly or ask the Fred Hollows Foundation to add us in with Bangladesh and Nepal in the queue for charitable treatment, United Future's Judy Turner said today.

"Or if they find that unpalatable, then the Government should stop running an increasingly Third World health system," Mrs Turner said in raising the issue of 2000 Aucklanders awaiting eye surgery being taken off waiting lists and sent back to their GPs.

Challenging Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson's assertion in Parliament that those returned to their GPs were "routine" cases, Mrs Turner said it beggars belief that doctors would have put their patients forward for specialist and surgical consultation if they did not need it.

"These are clinical decisions being overturned for financial reasons," she said.

"This is an administrative façade that avoids the issue of significant funding shortages for these services.

"Can the Minister not see the ridiculous irony that these patients are now faced with burgeoning paperwork and are in some cases totally unable to read it?" Mrs Turner, United Future's health spokeswoman, said.

ENDS

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