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Charging for private pathology tests flawed

Jackie Blue MP

National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

25 October 2006

Charging for private pathology tests flawed

The proposed rollout of private pathology charges will put further pressure on public waiting lists, says National's Associate Health spokeswoman, Jackie Blue.

"A significant proportion of Kiwi women diagnosed with breast cancer each year elect to be seen in the private sector in preference to the uncertainty of a public hospital waiting list.

"From my own experience working as a breast physician in the private sector, there are many women who do not have health insurance but are prepared to pay, from their own pocket, the $500 for specialist assessment to find out if they have breast cancer.

"These women will now be asked to find an extra $250 for the additional pathology charges, and even more if they end up being treated for cancer.

"For some this will undoubtedly become the financial tipping point and they will be forced to try their luck on the DHB waiting list.

"A similar situation exists for prostate cancer sufferers who will also face several hundred dollars of extra charges.

“It was clear from Pete Hodgson's statement in Parliament yesterday that he has failed to understand that prostate cancer patients will have to fork out for special tissue and diagnostic tests along with regular three-monthly blood tests.

"Where will this all end?

"Will patients who are treated privately end up having to pay for their own medication?

“Pete Hodgson seems intent on severely undermining the private health sector's ability to support the public sector by reducing its burden as well as keeping our specialists working in New Zealand,” says Dr Blue.

ENDS


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