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Labour buries number of waiting list dead

Labour buries number of waiting list dead

Heather Roy
Monday, 12 September 2005
Press Releases - Health

Labour is hiding the number of people dying on hospital waiting lists by getting rid of the exit category that recorded deaths, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

An Otago District Health Board letter confirms that the Ministry of Health has reduced the number of exit categories for hospital waiting lists from ten to four.

The deceased category has been hidden within the category "patient removed due to changed patient circumstances."

The category includes patients who have died waiting for treatment, patients who have gone private and patients who are classified as unfit for surgery.

"This is just a blatant Labour Government cover-up to hide their waiting list shame.

"Yesterday ACT held a remembrance day releasing 1,152 balloons - one for each person who died on Labour's hospital waiting lists in 2004. This is a disgrace.

"The public will now have no way of knowing how many people died while waiting for treatment in 2005," Mrs Roy said.

"Labour has spent an extra $3.5 billion a year on health but there are no more health services as a result. Labour has spent the money on health bureaucracy, rather than additional treatment.

ACT would:

- Ring fence $250 million of health funding and require DHB's to utilise the private health sector to reduce waiting lists from 180,000 to 120,000 in three years.

- Introduce tax assistance so people can better afford health insurance or pay to go privately.

"Labour has failed 180,000 people on waiting lists and the thousands more who have died since they came to office," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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