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Patients still waiting in long lines for attention

Hon Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health spokesman

14 December 2007

Patients still waiting in long lines for attention under Labour

The crisis in the country’s emergency departments is getting worse, despite trumpeting from Labour today that it is improving, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

The latest information for the three months ending September 2007 shows that only four of the country’s 21 DHBs are meeting all three of the Government’s benchmarks for waiting times in emergency departments.

“In a remarkable boast today, the Government announced that ‘This is the first time our records show all District Health Boards (DHBs) met the target of treating the most urgent triage 1 emergency department patients immediately.’

“These are the people who would have died if they didn’t receive immediate medical attention at emergency departments, and Labour thinks it’s acceptable that only now they’re all being seen?

“What is worse is that the Government is claiming 15 DHBs met or exceeded the target for seeing serious head injury and suspected heart attack victims, with 80% of patients seen within 10 minutes. The truth is that only seven DHBs actually met the benchmark. In triage 3, the Ministry claims 12 DHBs met the target, when only five actually did.

“I can only hope this is an administrative error and not deliberate.

“In our largest DHBs, the situation is even more dire, with none meeting the average waiting times, let alone meeting the benchmark.

“Emergency departments are barometers of how well a whole hospital is doing.

“If this is an example of how Health Minister David Cunliffe is ‘running the show’, then New Zealanders will be lining up for a change of Minister.

“National’s health discussion paper proposes a number of ideas for speeding up emergency department delays.”

DHB Hospital Benchmark information link


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