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9 years and Labour can’t get Health basics right

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

21 October 2008

Nine years and Labour can’t get the basics right in health

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says the Labour Government has been negligent in its failure to even get the basics right in the health system.

“Labour has spent millions of dollars on various health IT projects and bureaucrats, but it still can't keep track of important letters from GPs and other hospitals.

“This is basic stuff. If hospitals can’t communicate with each other effectively, then the system breaks down. And patients suffer.”

Mr Ryall is commenting after the Health and Disability Commissioner revealed that three patients suffered serious health complaints after being ‘lost in the system’. One lost an eye, one had a serious stroke, and the third had prostate cancer spread to his bones after his examination was delayed by months.

“This is the tip of an iceberg. Many patients and GPs are frustrated with delays and lost medical letters. It's inexcusable that patients suffer because their referral letter gets lost in the morass of health bureaucracy.

“Labour's health information strategy is a failure. What's needed is a real commitment to common standards across the country, so that the information doesn't get lost, and a commitment to making this work for patients.

“In the Hutt Valley there is an electronic GP-to-hospital referral system. The fact that hospitals aren’t communicating properly with each other is inexcusable in this electronic age.

“From time-to-time mistakes may occur, but the Health and Disability Commissioner is warning of problems that are more than one-off.

“After nine years in office, Labour must explain why the basics still aren’t being done.”


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