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3,803 Die On Hospital Waiting Lists Under Labour

3,803 Die On Hospital Waiting Lists Under Labour

ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy today revealed that 3,803 New Zealanders have died while waiting for hospital surgery under Labour since September 2000.

"Figures previously hidden by Health Minister Annette King show that between 1 September 2000 and the end of August 2001, 521 people died while waiting for elective surgery. This climbed to 850 in the year to August 2002. In the year ended August 2003, it skyrocketed to 1,245, and in the year to August 2004 it was 1,187.

"Under Labour the number of patients dying awaiting surgery has more than doubled since 2000. This is an outrage and a disgrace. These figures are a shocking indictment of the Government's handling of hospital waiting lists, and a damning reflection on its provision of vital health services.

"It has taken months of persistent questioning in the face of evasive and misleading answers from the Health Minister to get this information. I am convinced that she has been deliberately suppressing waiting list information.

"The Minister has hidden these facts not only from me, but also from Kiwis desperately needing treatment.

"Ms King must accept responsibility and resign. We've seen Ministers resigning over drink driving or wrongly claiming out-of-town allowances. Many people voted for Helen Clark believing her when she said she would fix the public health system.

"Helen Clark and Annette King must take responsibility for a health system that is failing the vulnerable - the sick who have been told they need surgery but can't get it," Mrs Roy said.

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