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Dark day for NZ healthcare

Jonathan Coleman MP National Party Associate Health Spokesman

29 September 2006

Dark day for NZ healthcare

Tomorrow looms as a dark day in the history of New Zealand healthcare, says National Party Associate Health spokesman Jonathan Coleman.

September 30 is the final day for compliance by DHBs with the Ministry of Health's waiting list directive.

Dr Coleman says the Health Minister is dealing with the waiting list problem by culling patients so he can say the lists are under control.

"Up to 28,000 people will have to be culled from the waiting list in order to satisfy Pete Hodgson's data cleansing requirements. This is nothing more than shameless political manipulation of the waiting lists, cruelly denying people the procedures they need so the Government can say it's on top of the crisis in elective surgery.

"All the Minister is doing is creating an extra burden on GPs who have to see those 28,000 people for a second time, knowing that they will have to once again be referred to a hospital.

"It's just a charade - people's health problems don't go away just because the Minister kicks them off the waiting list.

"DHBs that don't comply with the directive could face financial penalty. The Minister needs to explain how that is going to get more people the operations they need.

"The Minister has allowed managers and bureaucrats to overrule doctors on matters of clinical priority.

"It's no wonder that the health system is in crisis when Mr Hodgson spends all his time defending the Prime Minister, strategising for the Labour Party, and offering amateur political commentary," says Dr Coleman.

ENDS

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