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Waiting list cull: a further 16,000 may go

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

21 June 2006

Waiting list cull: a further 16,000 may go

Up to 16,000 more patients face being culled from hospital waiting lists, according to the Ministry of Health.

In Parliament’s Health Select Committee today, Ministry of Health officials told National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, that the Government wants hospital waiting lists wiped by the end of June.

But the Ministry has agreed to shift that deadline by three months because of the junior doctors’ strike.

“The Government has also threatened financial penalties for DHBs that don’t wipe their waiting lists,” says Mr Ryall.

“The latest data on the Ministry’s website indicates that to meet the Government’s edict, DHBs must remove 12,200 patients from specialist waiting lists and 4,500 from elective surgery waiting lists.*

“Health officials told the select committee that unless DHBs could provide more services, patients should be sent back to GPs.

“New appointments for patients disrupted by the junior doctors’ strike will take months to work through the system. It’s going to be nearly impossible for DHBs to catch up.

“The waiting list cull is out of control.

“Doctors and specialists have said these patients need hospital care, but they are being culled by Government edict.

“And that’s going to affect more and more New Zealanders.

“National says we could get more elective services through smart use of the private sector, greater involvement of specialists in decision-making, cuts to bureaucracy, and moving resources into services through a greater focus on value for money.”

ENDS

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