INDEPENDENT NEWS

Booking system report highlights problems

Published: Wed 27 Oct 1999 04:06 PM
Labour health spokesperson Annette King says that a report into the public hospital surgery booking system vindicates Labour's concerns while contradicting the government's claim that all is well with the system.
"Just last week Health Minister Wyatt Creech said that the booking system was working well and no change was required. This report shows his claim to be utter nonsense.
"The report calls on the Health Funding Authority to reveal the number of New Zealanders who qualify, under the booking system, for treatment but miss out on surgery due to inadequate funding. We know that thousands of people are missing out on operations, yet the exact number is being withheld to avoid embarrassment.
"Another major problem is the issue of regional variations. Southland man Colin Morrison died waiting for heart surgery. His condition was given a score of 55 points, which was not sufficient for surgery. If he was in Auckland, he would have got the care he needed on a score of 35 points."
Annette King says Labour is committed to implementing a timely elective surgery system and will put additional money into elective surgery.
"This will ensure all people who meet the criteria will get on the waiting list. Any patient deemed by a specialist to have an agreed clinical need for surgery will be placed on a waiting list.
"Labour will also require that all public hospitals adapt their systems to ensure national consistency," Annette King said.

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