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King Responsible For Emergency Waiting Times

King Responsible For Emergency Waiting Times

Monday 4 Oct 2004

Heather Roy - Press Releases - Health

Health Minister Annette King's scorn of concerns over the reasons surrounding long waits for treatment at accident & emergency departments is proof that she is not fit to be Minister, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Ms King can call these concerns `rubbish' all she likes but, sooner or later, she must take responsibility for setting up a primary health system that has seen the closing of some after-hours services and put others under intense pressure," Mrs Roy said.

"Many PHOs claim they are not adequately funded to deliver 24/7 healthcare. Now Ms King's comment has laid to rest questions that the Government has forgotten that people fall sick at night as well as during the day - she has shown that Labour simply doesn't care.

"This is why the clock has now been turned back to the days when there were few after-hours clinics. Then, doctors were expected to be on-call 24/7 - putting them under extreme pressure and in an impossible working situation.

"While the Government surely doesn't want a return to those times, its funding is an indication that is exactly what it expects.

"Many A&E departments are now advertising - telling patients to visit their family doctor first - in an attempt to decrease the numbers going directly to hospitals for free health care.

"But, when fee-paying services must compete with free services, the situation will not change. PHOs have delivered more expensive healthcare for many, and reduced access to after-hours care in many areas of New Zealand.

"PHOs are an expensive, ill-thought experiment that is failing many Kiwis - especially in the dead of the night when an emergency arises. It may be inconvenient for Ms King that patients get sick at night - the Health Ministry works nine-to-five, and her new PHO system seems to have developed the same work ethic," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS


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