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Got piles? Go private

Paul Hutchison - National Party Health Spokesman

2 March 2005

Got piles? Go private

Patients with simple conditions such as piles face a choice: wait until your condition is so severe that surgery is finally warranted, or go private, says National's Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board admitted to the health select committee today that 'patients with haemorrhoids, hernias or varicose veins will not get treatment unless the condition is very severe'.

According to the DHB's annual report 1038 people had been waiting longer than six months for a first specialist assessment as at 1 July 2004.

Hundreds of patients on 'active review' had not received a clinical assessment within the last six months, the report said.

"This is a clear admission of Labour's failure to address some of the simple medical problems that affect tens of thousands of New Zealanders," says Dr Hutchison.

"By leaving haemorrhoids, hernias and varicose veins to get worse, operative complications are increased and recovery times are prolonged. The extra costs both to individuals and the health system are immense.

"Labour has spent more than $3 billion extra on health and set up a huge, complex bureaucracy, but has failed to ensure that people suffering from simple conditions are seen in a timely fashion.

"The only options are to suffer until the condition is serious enough, or to go private," says Dr Hutchison.


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