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Surgeons’ letter a damning indictment

A letter from Waikato Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons claiming that hospital managers are stopping them from making follow-up checks on patients is a damning indictment of the health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. 

“It’s terrifying that one woman’s elective surgery was postponed at least twice so that a surgeon could do more first appointments to meet Government targets.

“It is clear that this change in priorities was to allow the District Health Board to meet health targets. 

“The surgeons have said that ‘Waikato Hospital was no longer a safe place to practise elective surgery.’ They went on to say that the DHB’s actions were ‘immoral, unethical and dangerous.’ 

“If the Waikato board had failed to make these targets then it would be liable for a penalty as the Canterbury District Health Board faced in 2011 for failing to meet elective targets after the earthquake. 

“Recently it was revealed that thousands of New Zealanders were missing out on follow-up eye appointments that were putting peoples’ sight at risk. Follow-up appointments are not in the Government’s targets. 

“The National Government has underfunded Health by $1.7 billion. Jonathan Coleman needs to tell John Key to forget tax cuts and concentrate on providing services for all New Zealanders,“ says Annette King.