25 November 2004
The Health Minister should not be going into the festive season feeling complacent about the public health system says
New Zealand First health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.
“The Cancer Society says people are dying while health officials delay introducing national screening for bowel cancer,
which is the second most common cancer in this country with 1000 deaths each year.
“A Waikato paediatrician reports that children are dying from Third World poverty-related diseases such as whooping
cough and rheumatic fever. An estimated 12,000 children, many living in rural Waikato, are not yet enrolled in the
primary health organisations which are supposed to simplify access to health care,” said Mrs Stewart.
“Meanwhile just up the road from Parliament, the cost of Capital and Coast DHB’s new computer system has blown out by
almost $4 million.
“This has happened in a hospital where recently a 14 year old with a broken leg had to wait 48 hours for an operation
and was then sent home before she could walk. At the same hospital, a survivor of bowel cancer has had an exploratory
operation to check for reoccurrence deferred for over four months.
“On top of this, children who need general anaesthetic for dental work to be done are waiting a year. And those are
probably only the tip of the iceberg.
“The buck stops at the Minister’s door. The lack of leadership and organisation in the public health system means that
Christmas for many New Zealanders waiting for medical treatment or suffering from the effects of delays is not going to
be particularly merry this year,” said Mrs Stewart.