Release all the emergency department wait times

The Labour Government must release regional emergency department data ahead of another tough winter, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“It is baffling that the Labour Government and its new Health Minister are still hiding from accountability on emergency department wait times.


“Just this week, the now ex-Chair of Te Whatu Ora Rob Campbell admitted that emergency department wait times have continued to deteriorate since July last year, when the quarterly data was last publicly available.


“The Government has since identified eight emergency department ‘hot spots’ to give extra support to this year, including Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. It should direct Te Whatu Ora to release the regional wait time data on these areas, as well as the rest of the country ahead of winter.


“Sick and injured New Zealanders should know how long they could be waiting in emergency departments so that they can plan accordingly.


“The last National Government made it a target that 95 per cent of people going to emergency departments were seen within six hours and consistently came close to that target. The latest available data shows that only 71 per cent are being seen within that time frame and now we know the current numbers are much worse.


“When people are forced to wait too long, they often give up and go home which can lead to tragic consequences as we have seen in the case at Middlemore Hospital.


“Only Labour could spend a billion dollars on a health restructure and deliver worse health outcomes in every single metric – emergency department, first specialist appointments and surgical wait lists are all at record highs.


“A National Government will redirect health reform waste into building the health workforce and will hold itself accountable to publicly reported targets.”