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Electives crisis continues

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

23 August 2006

Electives crisis continues

Fewer New Zealanders are getting elective surgery as thousands of Kiwis are culled from hospital waiting lists, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"There's a human price to this crisis, and the Government should start caring about the patients suffering at home," says Mr Ryall.

"The Government put an extra $800 million into health last year, and ended up getting fewer operations than the year before."

Figures released by Health Minister Pete Hodgson today show fewer patients received elective surgery in the past year. Those who were lucky enough to get surgery were sicker and required more complex surgery.

"What the Government needs to do is boost the amount of elective surgery instead of making it even harder for people to qualify. Thousands of patients have been culled from waiting lists, only to find they need to get even sicker to get an operation.

"This data proves exactly what we've been saying. Mr Hodgson owes the country an explanation.

"He also needs to explain why there's less elective surgery than in the year 2000. No amount of dressing up of the figures can hide the fact that fewer people are getting an operation, and more people are being culled.

"National says elective surgery could be boosted by smart use of the private sector, greater involvement of specialists and GPs in decision-making, cuts to bureaucracy, and moving resources into services through a greater focus on value for money."

Electives: 2000-01 107,881 2001-02 106,663 2002-03 104,985 2003-04 106,186 2004-05 107,208 2005-06 105,437

"It is understood that full data, when released, will show fewer elective operations at a number of DHBs including Waitemata, Counties-Manukau, Waikato, Capital and Coast and Southland*."


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