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Hutchison: No appointment after a year of waiting

Paul Hutchison MP National Party Health Spokesman

11 September 2005

Hutchison: No appointment after a year of waiting

National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison says a Tauranga woman with multiple sclerosis and a bowel and bladder prolapse has waited more than a year for a surgical appointment with no hope of treatment in sight.

Dr Hutchison says a booking clerk at Tauranga Hospital allegedly told the woman that Health Minister Annette King had told Tauranga DHB that all Grade 3 surgery has been put on hold until after the election.

"This woman was reduced to tears and contacted National wanting to know why this was the case,' says Dr Hutchison.

"I'm wondering that myself. We've got 25,000 patients waiting longer than six months for first specialist assessment and all up, 180,000 people waiting for surgery.

"King said in 1998 that a waiting list of 96,000 was 'criminal'. Later, Helen Clark said that Labour would 'blitz' waiting lists.

"King's language was injudicious to say the least, but she and the Labour Government have dismally failed to improve waiting lists around the country, despite putting huge amounts of money into their highly bureaucratic system.

"A National Government will manage the health system much more efficiently, and focus on patients, not on pen-pushers.

"We have also committed $100 million over three years to reduce the patients with the highest priority scores who have been waiting more than six months. This is over and above Labour's promise of 7,500 extra cataract and 10,000 joint operations," says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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