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Fewer patients getting to see specialists

Fewer patients getting to see specialists

Fewer Kiwis are getting to see a hospital specialist despite billions of dollars of extra health spending, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

Answers to written questions show there were 9,584 fewer first specialist appointments (FSAs) in 2007 than in 2001, the first calendar year for which records are available.

“Those figures are even worse when you consider the population has grown at 8% and the health budget has increased $6 billion a year.

“Despite all that extra money, fewer people are getting to see a hospital specialist. We also know that on a population basis, fewer people are getting operations,” says Mr Ryall.

"Labour is making it harder to see a hospital specialist so it can hide the true size of hospital waiting lists. Since the waiting list cull, it is getting harder and harder for patients to even get on a list for a specialists appointment. Ask any GP.

“This is another health promise which Helen Clark has broken.”

Mr Ryall is referring to a speech to the Christchurch School of Medicine in 1998. In it, Helen Clark said: ‘The backlog of people waiting for first specialist assessments also needs to be tackled.’

The number of people receiving a first specialist assessment has dropped from 406,096 in 2001 to 396,512 in 2007.

“Labour has built up an army of bureaucrats, one for every public hospital bed.

“What New Zealanders want is their tax dollars going into health, not more bureaucratic reports and committees.”


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