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An 7500 additional operations performed in the last year is testament to the efforts of doctors, nurses and support staff in our hospitals up and down the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.
“However it is also what you get if that is what you pay for.
“The trouble is, elective surgery is not all that New Zealanders want from their health system. Money put into primary health care and prevention would stop people from getting ill and having to be admitted in the first place.
“More hip and knee operations are fine, but they are now coming at the cost of primary health care, with community-based prevention and health education programmes being cut left, right and centre.
"Ask people who can't access their diabetes checks and support systems any more how they feel about managing their chronic illness every day. They would probably swap their situation with someone with a bad knee any day of the week.
"Tony Ryall has funded more operations and then trumpets the predictable results. What he doesn’t say is that more operations also mean a faster turnover, and that has an impact on already stressed and stretched medical staff and on patients.
“Let's see Mr Ryall put as much energy and as many resources into preventing people from getting sick in the first place," said Maryan Street.