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King's Failure: Lower Bar, Longer Waits

King's Failure: Lower Bar, Longer Waits

Thursday 21 Oct 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

Reports that the Health Ministry has lowered the bar for emergency department waiting times, is an acknowledgement that District Health Boards are in no position to provide treatment in as timely a manner as they once were, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"A&E doctors and nurses are frequently blamed for long waiting times, and the need for security guards to step in and protect them from abusive, frustrated patients is not uncommon," Mrs Roy said.

"But it is not staff who are to blame. They are being forced to work in a system that is failing both patients and staff alike.

"After months of my questioning, Health Minister Annette King continues to withhold information about the state and length of waiting lists. But a Health Funds Association report released last week revealed an increase of more than 11,000 patients waiting to get on the waiting list between 2002-03. This 56 percent increase is unprecedented.

"Yet, still, the Minister constantly talks of `waiting times' being lower now than ever before - a claim dispelled by the recently released Benchmark report, which shows that waiting times at A&E departments are now lengthening.

"Ms King's semantics are nothing more than Labour Party deceit. New Zealand patients deserve to know the truth about the state of the public health system, they deserve more than smoke and mirror tactics.

"New Zealanders deserve the best quality services, in the best time, at the best price. Clearly, they are not receiving that, and are unlikely to until Labour removes its blinkers to such things as the private sector - which holds at least part of the solution," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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