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GPs say waiting list crisis getting worse

Hon Tony Ryall National Party Health Spokesman

4 May 2006

GPs say waiting list crisis getting worse

New Zealand's waiting list crisis is getting worse, and a new poll shows that GPs agree, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

He is commenting on an IMS Health/NZ Doctor fax poll of GPs, which asked: Are you having problems getting a first specialist assessment for your patients?

78.8 per cent of respondents said yes.

The poll also asked: Are the number of patients being referred back to general practice growing?

82.4 per cent of respondents said yes.

"The Government admitted in Parliament today that 10,000 to 15,000 people are being culled from first specialist assessment waiting lists every year. Patients are being sent back to their GP having never seen a specialist," says Mr Ryall.

"The waiting list crisis is growing. The Government is myopically focused on culling waiting lists to claim some sort of pathetic credit. "The poll shows that GPs are concerned about getting their patients in front of a specialist. "And yesterday's statement from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons shows specialists are concerned about the numbers being culled from the system. "Mr Hodgson has no plan of action to deal with any of this. He is bewildered.

"We could boost elective services by smart use of the private sector, greater involvement of GPs and specialists in decision-making, cutting the bureaucracy and focusing on value for money," says Mr Ryall.


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