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So Many, Waiting So Long, For So Little

Elective Surgery: So Many, Waiting So Long, For So Little

Heather Roy Monday, 6 March 2006 Press Releases - Health

So Many, Waiting So Long, For So Little

Figures showing a decrease in elective surgery in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch only tell half the sorry story of Labour's failure in health, according to ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"The real figures for elective surgery are even worse, considering that from 2000 to 2004, population grew 11.3% in Auckland, 4.8% in Wellington and 6% in Christchurch. While the numbers of those receiving surgery dropped, population growth means that even more people are missing out on the treatment doctors say they need", Mrs Roy said.

"New Zealand has an aging population of 4.1 million. Labour falls well short of ACT's vision for health – where all Kiwis are able to access treatment when they need it.

"The answer to the health crisis lies in breaking down the artificial barrier government has erected between public and private health providers. Waiting lists could be reduced by allowing unspent budgets at the end of a financial year to be used to treat people in private hospitals.

"Labour has also neglected its role in encouraging people to take responsibility for their own health. Some of the $4 billion increase in health spending under Labour should have been used to provide an incentive for people to take charge of their own health needs.

"District Health Boards are prevented from using increased funding to treat patients because they need to cover government-imposed costs such as the Holidays Act and sanctioning of large salary increases. Soon the progressive withdrawal of asset testing will be an added burden for DHBs – the situation can only get worse.

"With 180,000 people on Labour's waiting lists, never before in New Zealand's hospitals have so many waited so long, for so little", Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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