Budget cuts hurting New Zealanders’ health

The eye health of 44 New Zealanders’ has been compromised, and some have suffered partial sight loss, because of an overwhelmed health system that is not able to treat patients quickly enough, the Green Party said today.

The latest annual report from the Health Quality & Safety Commission into “adverse events” in our hospitals also shows a large increase in clinical management issues across the country in a range of departments, up from 205 in 2014-15 to 245 in 2015-16. Clinical management events include those relating to delays in treatment, assessment, diagnosis, observation and monitoring (including patient deterioration). 

“Our public system has been squeezed so tight by this Government’s Budget cuts, that New Zealanders’ health is really suffering,” Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said. 

“People who can’t get a public health appointment or treatment when they need it, and don’t have private insurance, are being made to wait, and are suffering as a result.  

“That shows there’s a two-track health system developing in New Zealand, and that’s not good enough.

“For the 44 New Zealanders whose eye health was damaged because they were forced to wait for treatment, there is no justification from the Government that will pass muster.

“30 people in Southern DHB alone lost some of their sight, and many others around the country have faced issues with public ophthalmology services. Clearly this is an area that needs urgent investment and resourcing from the Government.

“There has been $1.7 billion cut from the health budget since the National Government came to power, and we are seeing the consequences of that,” Ms Genter said. 

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