New Zealand Labour Party

Too many Kiwis in pain waiting for operations

The Health Minister must take urgent action to help the 174,000 New Zealanders that a new report estimates can’t even get on a waiting list for surgery, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“A new report by global research company TNS says these 174,000 Kiwis have been turned down for publicly-funded operations because their pain is not considered severe enough or their GPs want to monitor their conditions.

“Canterbury Charity Hospital founder Phil Bagshaw estimated that 8 per cent of Aucklanders and 10 per cent of Cantabrians who require surgery are not ‘registered by the system’.

“These findings are a direct result of the Government cutting $1.7 billion of funding for the health sector over the past six years.

“It follows research from Dunedin School of Medicine showing that people who would have qualified for hip and knee surgery six years ago, would not qualify today.

“Jonathan Coleman refuses to acknowledge the patients who need surgery but have not been referred by their GP to a specialist because they know it is too hard to get surgery. Doctors know their patients won’t get on the waiting list so don’t bother even trying.

“The National Government has failed to fund the health sector to meeting a growing elderly population and inflation. Kiwis are in more pain and missing out on the healthcare they need,” Annette King says.