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Culled patients wait in agony

18 May 2005

Paul Hutchison MP National Party Health Spokesman

Culled patients wait in agony

One of the 2000 patients 'culled' from the Counties Manukau DHB waiting list is "sitting in agony, not even able to get across the floor", says National's Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

In Parliament, Minister of Health Annette King has stated: "people are not culled. They are sent to their general practitioners to be monitored".

The Counties Manukau patient, Mrs Griffiths, said: "the devastating letter came from Counties Manukau with absolutely no instructions regarding if I would be monitored, how I would be monitored, or when I would be monitored".

"Mrs Griffiths had to call them herself to make an appointment," says Dr Hutchison.

"Even more worrying is what appears to be Labour's determination to make waiting lists look good by culling people off them."

Dr Hutchison asked under Parliamentary privilege: "Does she deny senior Ministry of Health officials, such as David Geddes, have informed DHBs and orthopaedic surgeons to 'actively manage' their waiting lists, which means culling, or they may not receive funding for the orthopaedic initiative, such instruction being tantamount to bribery and interferes with ethical behaviour?"

"Orthopaedic surgeons are quite rightly refusing to compromise their duty to patients and remove them from waiting lists," says Dr Hutchison.

"If Labour wants to make the waiting lists look better, they must take responsibility for the mess that is our health system, and not require health professionals to do things that are ethically improper, such as culling patients from waiting lists.

"It is an indictment on Labour that they have thrown more than $3.3 billion extra into health, yet health services are more inefficient and more bogged down in bureaucracy than ever.

"This Labour Government is actively trying to deceive people about how bad the situation really is," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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