Surgical wait list hits new record

A new record has been set for New Zealanders waiting more than four months for surgery, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Health Minister Andrew Little has set a new record in the health sector – this time for the worst surgical wait list in at least a decade.

“This record comes three months after Minister Little’s announcement of a ‘high powered’ task force with their focus on decreasing the wait lists for surgery and specialists.  

“Unfortunately for New Zealanders, the wait list has increased by a further 199 people needing surgery, bringing the total to 28,536 at the end of June.

“To be included on the surgical wait list, you must to be referred by a specialist – but those wait times have blown out too. People waiting more than four months to see a specialist is already up to 36,000.

“Emergency Department wait times are also reaching breaking point, with Christchurch Hospital ED reaching capacity and non-urgent injuries or conditions being turned away.  

“New Zealanders deserve a plan to decrease the surgical wait list, the specialist wait list and the emergency room waiting time – not another task force or a new plot for Shortland Street.

“Despite being warned by the health sector in July last year, Minister Little has spent money on bureaucratic health reforms instead of on people. He has failed at his core responsibility of ensuring New Zealanders get timely access to health services.”