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No plan of action from Hodgson

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

1 May 2006

No plan of action from Hodgson

Health Minister Pete Hodgson’s maiden speech on health today offers no hope to the 180,000 people languishing on hospital waiting lists, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"After six long years, Labour finds itself flailing around unable to explain why there are so many problems in the public health system,” says Mr Ryall.

“Mr Hodgson has shown himself completely bereft of any ideas on how to fix widespread public dissatisfaction. All he can do is spend a large part of his speech attacking the Opposition for pointing out the truth about his leadership of the heath system.

“Frankly, his tired and arrogant approach does little to fix the very real problems facing the public health system. It was Mr Hodgson himself who rated the health service just five-and-a-half out of ten.

“Despite all his rhetoric, Mr Hodgson has admitted in Parliament that the number of people getting elective operations has dropped. In 2001, there were 108,000 elective operations.

“Despite all the money, fewer people are getting elective surgery.

“On top of this, we know that the seriousness of elective operations is much greater than five years ago. Patients have to be sicker now to get an elective operation.

“This is false economy. The consequence is that patients develop chronic conditions that end up costing more to fix later on.

"What would make a difference to elective surgery numbers is smart use of the private sector, greater involvement by GPs and specialists in decision-making, cuts to bureaucracy and a focus on value for money,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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