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Aucklanders have to be sicker to get operations

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

16 February 2006

Aucklanders have to be sicker to get operations

People have to be sicker before they can have an operation at Auckland DHB, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"Latest figures show that despite millions of dollars being poured into the health system, Aucklanders have to be ever sicker to get an operation," says Mr Ryall.

Auckland DHB has confirmed that 'the patients treated from the waiting list are sicker now, on average, then they were five years ago.'

In reply to an Official Information Act request, Auckland DHB has released the average points needed to get various operations in its area. They include:

* Cardiothoracic patients now needing 46.4 points to qualify for elective surgery, compared with 33.5 points in 2001.

* Orthopaedic patients now needing 81.2 points, compared with 75.4 points in 2001.

* Ear, nose and throat patients now needing 58.8 points, compared with 44 points in 2001.

* General surgery patients now needing 87.9 points, compared with 77.5 points in 2001.

"People with lower average points used to be getting surgery, now they are not," says Mr Ryall.

"Auckland's Hospital Funding Manager, Denis Jury, says the number of operations has remained 'pretty much the same'.

"And that's part of the problem. Auckland's population has ballooned in the past five years. If the number of operations hasn't changed, then the proportion of people getting elective surgery has dropped. And that explains why the average thresholds have risen.

"The Government promised patients better access to health care. Instead, you now have to be even sicker to get an operation," says Mr Ryall.

Attached: OIA response - Clinical Priority Access Criteria Scores Inquiries:

http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/0602/RyallOIA.pdf

ENDS

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