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Two-faced Hodgson caught out on electives

Two-faced Hodgson caught out on electives

Health Minister Pete Hodgson has been caught out being two-faced on the elective surgery crisis, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

"While today defending the Government's record on elective surgery, Mr Hodgson has been threatening greater controls over most of the major DHBs because of poor performance in elective surgery,” says Mr Ryall.

In Parliament today, Mr Hodgson confirmed that the Government last week wrote to key DHBs berating their performance in elective surgery and threatening to institute ‘intensive monitoring’ regimes.

He confirmed letters had been sent to the following DHBs: Auckland, Waitemata, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, MidCentral, Capital and Coast, and Canterbury.

“These letters make a mockery of Mr Hodgson’s defence of the Government’s elective surgery policy,” says Mr Ryall. “If everything is so good, then why have they written these letters?

“The extraordinary letter, headed ‘Elective Services Patient Flow Indicators’, talks about a lack of satisfactory progress in meeting agreed elective surgery targets.

“These targets include numbers of patients seen, how long they have been waiting, how many are languishing in ‘active review’, and how many are sick enough to get an operation but can’t get one.

“It calls on the DHBs to take steps to remedy the shortfall. For different DHBs it points out areas of particular shortfall.

“The Ministry of Health has formally advised DHBs that unless they increase their elective surgery performance, they risk being put under ‘intensive monitoring and intervention’. This will see the Ministry having a greater say over how the DHBs operate. Local control will be out the door.

“Mr Hodgson told Parliament last month that 96,000 people received elective surgery in 2005, down from 98,000 five years earlier. Yet he continues to defend the Government's performance,” says Mr Ryall.


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