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Government suffering heart failure

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Capital Coast Health's failure to give Levin man Wayne Foster the heart operation he desperately needs is yet more evidence of the crisis in public health care, says Labour Health spokesperson Annette King.

Mr Foster, Horowhenua's Coach of the Year (cycling), is waiting for a triple bypass. He had his first heart attack in March and suffers severe angina. He has not yet been given a date for his operation.

Mr Foster has 61 points in the scoring system used to rank waiting lists. Southland farmer Colin Morrison died last year waiting for his operation with 55 points. Auckland patients with 35 points are receiving operations.

"Mr Foster's case is yet another example showing the health system is in a shambles," says Mrs King. "The treatment you get depends on where you live, and people in the Wellington region are some of the worst off."

Mrs King released information from Capital Coast Health last week showing there were more people waiting for cardiac surgery at Wellington Hospital now than at the same time last year. The queue had stretched from 249 people to 272 and the average waiting time had increased from 10 to 11 months.

"People like Mr Foster are the human faces of the waiting list statistics. Here's a man honoured for his contribution to sport who can't walk to the corner without pain."

"This Government obviously doesn't care enough about people like Wayne Foster. Labour does and that's why Helen Clark has made a personal commitment to cut waiting times for surgery."

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