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Waiting Lists: Where Patients Go To Die

Waiting Lists: Where Patients Go To Die

Recent publicity over the untimely death of Angie Webster has given a human face to the statistical arguments that have raged throughout the year over hospital waiting lists, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Fifteen-year-old Angie died of complications of the treatment of Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome, whilst on a waiting list for cardiac surgery," Mrs Roy said.

"Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome causes an abnormal rhythm of the heart, and usually responds well to cardiac surgery. Angie was told she would have to wait 18 months for surgery, but died after waiting five months in the state system.

"An 18-month wait for a life-threatening condition in a 15 year-old is entirely unacceptable - but is the sort of thing that happens when waiting list numbers are manipulated for the purposes of political spin.

"The end result is that no one knows what's really happening, doctors are forced to use second line treatments and Ministers evade responsibility whenever possible. Who could have thought this would happen under a Labour Government?

"Labour portrays itself as the party of the workers, the caring party, yet the reality is very different.

"Health Minister Annette King's New Year's resolution should be to reverse the loss of medical and nursing personnel from this country, re-establish surgical waiting lists as a priority and - most importantly - publish the honest statistics," Mrs Roy said.

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