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Anti-private patient ideology means waiting lists

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

24 October 2006

Anti-private patient ideology will add to waiting lists

Labour’s new anti-private healthcare move will see waiting lists grow as patients who use private specialists move back to the public system, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

In Parliament today Health Minister Pete Hodgson confirmed that the Government wants all DHBs to charge patients for laboratory tests ordered by private specialists.

Hutt Valley and Capital and Coast DHBs will be the first to implement the change, from November 1.

Mr Ryall says this “blind ideological opposition” to private healthcare will see public waiting lists grow even longer.

“Making it more expensive to go private will mean even more people go public. And that means even bigger waiting list culls in the future.

“These changes will have a huge impact on individual patients. A woman with a lump in her breast will now end up paying an extra $250 for lab tests to find out if she has cancer or not. This is on top of the $500 she is paying for specialist assessment.

“Men with prostate cancer will also face a bill of several hundred dollars for their lab tests. Cardiac patients will have to pay in excess of $1,000 in lab charges.

“This proposal has been considered in the past and dismissed because the costs far outweigh the benefits.

“Labour is showing its true colours once again with this anti-private patient ideology. Will their next step be to make private patients pay the full cost of drugs?

“Surely we should be using the public and private sectors together to benefit patients,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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