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Labour can't be trusted on waiting lists

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

13 October 2008

Labour can't be trusted on waiting lists

Labour is hiding the true state of elective surgery, with more questions than answers in yesterday's health targets release.

"They culled 30,000 sick New Zealanders from the waiting list in a bid to make the numbers look better, now they're using a new way of counting to hide their decade of failure."

Mr Ryall says that in a low-key release at 9.30am on Sunday, Labour claimed on elective surgery discharges: Over 2007/08, an increase of 11,864 in the number of elective discharges was achieved.

"But the information provided later in the report does not support this claim.

"David Cunliffe has started using a new way of reporting elective discharges which appears to include a number of services not previously counted for in elective surgery reports. This is dishonest and cynical, but unsurprising."

In a graph labelled 'National trend in elective services increase' the change from 2006/7 to 2007/8 is 7201. Yet, the Government claims it is 11,864.

"Why the difference?"

Mr Ryall says Labour has also lowered the base for comparing new elective services. The same graph shows the base for comparison was reduced by 2000, which of course makes it easier to 'exceed the base'.

"Why did this happen?"

"And why have previous quarterly reports been removed from the MOH website? Click on the second and third-quarter report links and you get the full year report. Click on this first-quarter report and you get: 'The page you requested may have been moved or removed from the Ministry of Health website'.

"Why is this? It looks a lot like Labour is trying to pull the wool over New Zealanders' eyes, and David Cunliffe should explain."

ENDS

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