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HFA Decision “Victory for Common Sense” – ACT

ACT is hailing as a “victory for common sense,” the decision by the Health Funding Authority to pay for people to have operations in Wellington’s Wakefield Hospital in an effort to overcome chronic staff shortages at the Capital’s public hospital in Newtown.

The authority has been concerned for some time at the number of heart and lung operations that have had to be cancelled by Capital Coast health because of the lack of trained specialist medical staff.

ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health Spokesman, Ken Shirley, highlighted the seriousness of the situation last week when he said Health Minister Annette King remained “in denial,” while New Zealand’s public hospital’s were moving into “crisis mode,” because of staff shortages.

“Finally the HFA is doing something we have claimed the Government should be doing all along, and that is utilising the efficiency of private hospital installed capacity, to ease the crisis facing our public hospitals,” Mr Shirley said.

“If the HFA can fund operations being carried out at Wakefield Hospital, why can’t the Government do likewise across the board?”

“First-rate facilities at private hospitals are under-utilised because of this Government’s determination to put ideology before common sense and in turn risk the lives of New Zealanders who are facing life-threatening conditions, because they are being denied treatment at our public hospitals,” Mr Shirley said.

Mr Shirley said he will be asking Annette King if the Government will finally sanction special funding for operations in other private hospitals, now that the Health Funding Authority has been forced to step in and ease the crisis at Wellington Public Hospital.


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