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Govt doesn't care about patients

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

20 October 2003

Govt doesn't care about patients

The Government will ignore a survey of doctors which shows families are carrying the weight and stress of surgery cut backs, says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

"The survey by the Wellington Medical School confirms exactly what we've been saying for the past few years.

"Data collected by National shows that 7500 people have been dumped off waiting lists, and 25,000 were denied entry on to the surgery waiting list to the end of 2002, and over 10,000 people have waited more than six months for first specialist (or pre-surgery) assessment in the year to August 2003.

"Hoards of patients are coming to us complaining they can't get their hip, knee, cataract or hernia operations - surgery that used to be commonly done in New Zealand - because they've been dumped off waiting lists. Some of these people are then forced onto the invalids benefit.

"It would cost less to get their operation over and done with, than have them on a benefit for years waiting, adding stress to their own lives and that of their family. These people need operations but the only option doctors have is to put them on endless painkillers.

"This survey is a true reflection of the stress and upset over run down health services, but the Government will unfortunately ignore it. Its main priority is to claim that it has reduced waiting lists, when everyone knows the numbers only look lower because thousands of people have been dumped off the lists.

"Doctors are exasperated that they can't even get patients to a first specialist assessment. "Labour's pledge card promise to "cut waiting times for surgery" is a joke. Instead the Health Minister has taken health care in New Zealand back 10 years. New Zealanders can't even get basic operations, but neither her nor her Government care," Dr Scott says.


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