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Cash for electives cold comfort for the culled

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

02 October 2006

Extra cash for electives cold comfort for the culled

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says the extra money for elective surgery announced by Pete Hodgson today "will be cold comfort for the thousands who've already been culled from hospital waiting lists".

"Labour's poured an extra $4 billion into health over past six years and got fewer operations. What makes this Minister think $50 million a year will produce 10,000 more operations? It just doesn't stack up!

"The issue here isn't money, it's how you use it. Too much health money is being wasted on bureaucracy. National will get more out of our scarce health dollars by smart use of the private sector, greater co-operation with specialists and doctors, cutting the bureacracy and a strong focus on value for money.

"In similar contracts for cataracts and hips, Labour has made the independent sector the last cab off the rank and only as an emergency backstop for public hospitals which can't meet a deadline."

Mr Ryall also says it appears Labour is putting a gun to the heads of health bosses by saying the money will only be available to 'boards who consistently meet the requirements of the government's booking system policy'.

"Basically, Labour's saying that if DHBs want this cash, they're going to have to consistently make sure no people are waiting six months for surgery. In other words, the waiting list culls will become entrenched," says Mr Ryall.

"Mr Hodgson is yet again proving himself an incompetent. He's been saying for a year that there's no problem with electives, yet today he cries crocodile tears for the thousands culled."


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