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Cardiac care causing crisis of confidence

Cardiac care causing crisis of confidence – Maori Party

Hon Tariana Turia, Health spokesperson

3 September 2008

Shocking new statistics indicating the number of state funded bypass operations in Auckland, including Northland, have fallen from 641 in 2002/03 to 462 the following year is the latest in an ongoing crisis around cardiac care, says Maori Party Health spokesperson, Tariana Turia.

"This morning's information about a leaked draft Ministry of Health report on the state of cardiac surgery makes for grim reading," said Mrs Turia.

"The Minister must explain to the nation, how he can justify such a dramatic decline in the number of bypass operations when we already have a comparatively low rate of state funded bypass and valve surgery.”

"It is only three months ago, that in the same Auckland District Health board, we learnt that the average waiting time for treatment had increased from 27 days to 64 days."

"This news, following last week's annnouncement that up to fifty Capital and Coast District Health Board patients waiting for heart surgery will have to cross the Tasman to get their treatment, undermines public confidence in the health system," said Mrs Turia.

"I am particularly concerned about the implications for Maori. We know that in the 45-64 year age group, rates of hospital admissions for Maori men and women with heart failure are more than seven times that of non-Maori."

"It’s all well and good that the Health Minister has said the Ministry is implementing a plan to improve cardiac surgery rates now," said Mrs Turia.

"Whanau Maori, who have suffered from the delays in coronary care provision, are telling me they want to see action - action to save the lives of the many New Zealanders who desperately seek better health and cardiovascular outcomes.”


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