New Zealand Labour Party

Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding

New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“For almost two years Labour has been warning about the number of people who are being kept off waiting lists because district health boards are underfunded by the Government.

“The Government’s failure and refusal to collect data on the number of people who need elective surgery is nothing more than a cover up.

“Canterbury Charity Hospital founder Phil Bagshaw warned the Government over a year ago that thousands of New Zealanders are going without the operations they need and called for an independent review of unmet need for surgery. His comments were scoffed at by former health minister Tony Ryall.

“About the same time a survey commissioned by the Private Surgical Hospitals Association found 280,000 New Zealanders needed operations and more than half were not even on waiting lists.

“The Government has underfunded health in real terms in three out of the last five budgets and is forecast to underfund the sector for the next four years.

“Tony Ryall refused to listen. It is time his successor Jonathan Coleman stepped up and helped the massive number of New Zealanders in pain because of this Government,” Annette King says.