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Neurology waiting list: from here to eternity

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Aucklanders needing neurological treatment are being told they will have to wait at least ten months for an appointment, Labour MP Phil Goff revealed today.

"The Neurology Clinic at Auckland Hospital has a waiting list of about 1000 patients," Mr Goff says. "People needing an appointment are being told they will have to wait at least ten months and possibly longer. Only the most urgent cases can get in within a month.

"Chronic Government neglect of elective surgery and specialist assessment needs in the public health system is to blame. Hospital waiting times have stretched out to ridiculous lengths."

Mr Goff has been asked to help a young man with balance and coordination problems who needs to see a neurologist. The man is working in a warehouse but often falls because of his condition and is at risk of more serious injury. His condition appears to be deteriorating.

He has been told he might have to wait another three to six months after his neurological examination for a brain scan.

"In both human and economic terms it is stupid to leave this young man waiting up to 16 months for attention," Mr Goff says. "In that time there is a strong possibility that his condition could become much worse. He could also injure himself seriously.

"Either way this young man suffers personally and the expense and difficulty of treating him increases. This is a classic case of Government under-funding risking more money than it saves.

"Labour is committed to cutting waiting times for elective surgery and specialist assessments. National and Act are committed to privatisation and slashing Government spending. The queues would get longer and public hospital services would deteriorate further.

"Only a Labour party vote is a health vote."

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