100,000 Kiwis denied hospital care because of Labour’s failure

Andrew Little’s failure to prepare the health system for Delta has resulted in more than 100,000 Kiwis missing out on planned hospital procedures, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“Answers to my questions show 102,959 procedures were cancelled in the first 10 weeks of the current Delta outbreak – an average of 10,000 per week.

“The Counties-Manukau district health board accounts for 30 per cent of this, with the two other Auckland DHBs also faring poorly.

“Even before the current outbreak, Labour’s five years of mismanaging our health system had already created a backlog of over 30,000 people waiting longer than the prescribed four months for hospital treatment.

“The blame lies squarely with this Government, and the Health Minister in particular.

“The Government’s choice not to build purpose-built MIQ, or improve our border settings, let Delta in.

“The slowest vaccine rollout in the developed world meant less than 20 per cent of our population was fully vaccinated, letting Delta spread.

“The Government’s failure to invest in better contract tracing, to introduce saliva and rapid antigen testing, or to build extra ICU capacity, has resulted in an extended lockdown and 100,000 much-needed procedures cancelled.

“That’s missed cancer diagnoses, deferred cataract removals, and delayed hip replacements.

“It’s more suffering and pain for New Zealand families.

“And it was all avoidable.

“The first priority of the Minister of Health should be to make sure that, when Kiwis get sick, they get the treatment they need.

“On that count, Andrew Little owes 100,000 Kiwis an apology.

“Once he’s done with that, he needs to provide a credible plan to clear the waiting lists. The first step should be to abandon his dangerous and disruptive legacy-building health restructure, and just get on with the job of making sure Kiwis get the health care they deserve.”