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Certainty Vital for Patients - ACT

Thursday 8th Jul 1999

Ken Shirley

Media Release -- Health

ACT Deputy Leader Hon Ken Shirley is calling for greater certainty from the public health system following the quarterly review issued by the Health Funding Authority.

"Some progress has been made with a 15% drop in the number of patients on the residual list between December 31 1998 and March 31 1999. But, it is not acceptable for 58,000 New Zealanders who need treatment to be suffering the extra uncertainty of not knowing when or if they will get their operation.

"If your on the waiting list you should know when you're going to get your operation.

"The 12% decrease in the number of patients waiting for more than six months for treatment is encouraging, but again 40,000 is still an unacceptable number.

"The real concern is the increase in the number of people waiting for their first assessment by a specialist. These are the people who are waiting just to get on the waiting list. Greater effort is needed to get treatment for these people.

"New Zealanders don't care if their treatment is provided by a public or private hospital so long as they get the medical care they need. Real progress has been made for patients where the private sector is supplementing the work of the public hospitals and there is considerable scope for increasing this integration.

""The HFA's report shows just how important it is to encourage and support these joint public/private health initiatives to stop New Zealanders suffering addition pain and uncertainty," said Hon Ken Shirley.

ENDS

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