Jonathan Coleman is fast running out of excuses for the sorry state of New Zealand’s public health system, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“There’s not a day goes by that I don’t receive correspondence from someone who is quite rightly outraged at being treated – as one patient put it – ‘like refuse at the tip’ or from health professionals frustrated at not being able to provide services.
The Minister’s response has been to reel off facts and figures that have no relevance to whatsoever.
“These are real people. They are living in pain, waiting for operations that might or might not happen; they are cancer patients who can’t get MRI scans or reconstructive surgery; they are toddlers with rotten teeth turned away because there aren’t enough dental professionals; they are elderly people who have had to call in Red Cross volunteers because they’ve had their home help hours cut.
“Mr Coleman is happy to take responsibility for any so-called ‘better’ outcomes. He’s less than enthusiastic when it comes to taking responsibility for a health budget that’s been cut by $1.7 billion, DHBs forced to tell patients they don’t have the funding to deliver services within standard timeframes, emergency departments struggling to cope, and GPs having to explain why their patients shouldn’t expect to see a specialist even when they need to.
“With a growing and aging population demand for good quality health care is only going to increase. Blaming Labour or spouting numbers isn’t going to change that fact and the sooner this Government acknowledges that, the better,” Annette King says.