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Sort out operating theatre shambles

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

5 June 2008

Sort out operating theatre shambles

Health Minister David Cunliffe should sort out the bureaucratic in-fighting over new operating theatres at Hutt Hospital, says National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall.

"Hundreds of patients are missing out on vitally needed surgery because there aren't enough operating theatres at Hutt Hospital.  Bureaucrats are arguing the hospital should rent a couple of old operating theatres at Wellington Hospital instead.

"This is the same Wellington Hospital that hasn't got enough beds or staff to even deal with its own patients!

"Extensive work by the Hutt DHB shows its major constraint to offering more elective surgery is theatres on site at Lower Hutt.  Like many other DHBs, Hutt can't qualify for any of the Government's much heralded extra money for elective surgery because it has no space to do it.

"Health Minister David Cunliffe should get this bureaucratic nonsense sorted and stop procrastinating.

"But it isn't surprising he's confused. Answers to parliamentary questions show that the Ministry of Health has no idea of how many operating theatres there are at any public hospital in New Zealand.

"What sort of health system is the government running when it can't even answer a basic question about the number of operating theatres at each DHB?

"There's an army of over 11,500 health bureaucrats, and you'd think they'd have some idea on this," says Mr Ryall.

Parliamentary Question 4434 (2008) to theMinister of Health (12 May 2008): What were the total number of operating theatres for each District Health Board as at the end of April 2008?

Hon David Cunliffe (Minister of Health) replied: The Ministry of Health does not hold this information. This response also answers Written Questions 4435 and 4436 (2008).


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