Increasing numbers of GPs are giving up referring patients for first specialist assessments because they know it’s a waste of time, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.
“Jonathan Coleman has just issued a barrage of press releases asserting increasing numbers of New Zealanders are receiving better access to specialists.
“He should tell that to the many people who have approached me with tales of waiting months, and sometimes years, to get an appointment.
“And he should tell it to the thousands of people who are referred for assessments but are then sent back to their GPs because they don’t meet pain thresholds.
“He might also want to have a chat to the doctors who say they no longer refer patients because they know they won’t even make it onto a waiting list.
“Specialists are just as frustrated, and are being forced to decline referrals because of increasing demand and shorter target times.
“DHBs have only been funded to maintain current services. A growing and aging population means there will be more Kiwis requiring medical care.
“The National Government has under-invested in the sector for years. It is a scandal that it can’t – or purposely won’t - see the affect that is now having,” Annette King says.