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Hodgson's Choice - Cull Patients Or Face Penalty

Hodgson's Choice - Cull 800 Patients Or Face $3 Million Penalty

Heather Roy
Tuesday, 5 September 2006
Press Releases - Health

A leaked document from Waitemata District Health Board showing that they face a $3 million penalty if they do not send 800 people on waiting lists back to their general practitioners is more evidence of Labour shooting the messenger, according to ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"General practice has become the holding pen for patients to wait and deteriorate before being referred back to hospitals for specialist care", Mrs Roy said.

"Labour is threatening Waitemata DHB with a $3 million financial punishment if they don't send 800 patients back to their GPs by the end of this month.

"This is 'Hodgson's Choice' from Labour. District Health Boards are caught between financial reality on one hand and government demands on the other.

"These 800 patients were referred to specialists because their GPs believe they need a second opinion or further treatment - this is just another attempt to artificially improve waiting list statistics.

"DHBs shouldn't have to choose between their patients and their funding.

"So many people have now been culled from waiting lists that the figures no longer give a real indication of the number of patients in need of treatment.

"The Minister of Health blames managers, staff and DHBs when people are dropped from waiting lists, but it is really his own Government's policies which are failing.

"District Health Boards had combined deficits of $41.8 million last year. Taking more money off them for failing to make the Minister look good would not help patients, and certainly won't aid those waiting for treatment.

"Kiwis should be asking Minister Hodgson why he's so desperate to hide the real number of people waiting for treatment", Mrs Roy said.


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