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Hospital Waiting Lists Under Serious Pressure

Hospital Waiting Lists Under Serious Pressure

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today released new information revealing that hospitals throughout New Zealand were under-funded by $94.6 million in the year to June 2004

"Figures obtained under the Official information Act show that, while total DHB deficits came to $58.3 million, the Hospital Provider Arms - the DHB branch responsible for providing hospital services - registered a $94.6 million shortfall," Mrs Roy said.

"This is why Health Minister Annette King is hiding the real total waiting list numbers, and has avoided answering my questions for the past three months.

"I recently revealed that, at the end of June 2004, over 56,000 people were booked for operations or on the Minister's Active Review - the waiting list to get on the waiting list. Ms King refuses to provide numbers of patients referred back to their GP.

"Prospects are even worse, however, for the tens of thousands waiting for surgery to be performed this financial year. Contrary to the Minister's claims of huge cash injections into health for the 2004/05 year, 11 DHBs received less funding this year in inflation adjusted terms.

"The truth is that Prime Minister Helen Clark's claimed $547 million increase for DHBs this year is nonsense. Of this, $218 million is to fund Disability Services (Aged Care) not previously DHBs' responsibility - and the actual increase, of around $300 million, doesn't even match inflation.

"The new confirmation that Hospital Provider Arms ran a $94 million deficit shows, once again, that hospitals and patients are paying the price of Labour's deception over health funding and waiting lists. Without doubt, this will become even worse this year," Mrs Roy said.

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