NORTH COAST SURGERY WAITING TIMES DOUBLE UNDER LABOR

North Coast Surgery Waiting Times Double Under Labor

The elective surgery waiting lists for the North Coast Area Health Service had more than doubled during 12 years of a State Labor Government, NSW Leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner, said today.

Mr Stoner said according to the latest figures for the North Coast Area Health Service** a total of 7,496 people were waiting for elective surgery in June 2007, compared to 3,480 in March 1995.

A breakdown of the figures reveals:

HOSPITAL Waiting List MARCH 1995 Waiting List JUNE 2007
Coffs Harbour 828 1836
Kempsey 0 243
Lismore 463 1072
Murwillumbah 267 1101
Tweed 557 935
Grafton 186 485
Port Macquarie 802 1093

'The figures make a mockery of Labor’s election promise back in 1995 to halve hospital waiting lists,' Mr Stoner said.

“The reality is that under the Carr-Iemma Government, families on the Mid North and North Coast are waiting longer for surgery – and it’s unacceptable.

“In towns like Murwillumbah, the elective surgery waiting list has more than tripled over the past 12 years. Meanwhile, patients in Macksville are currently waiting an average of 7 months for treatment, compared to waiting less than one month back in 1995.”

Mr Stoner said the figures reflected Labor’s failure to invest in country hospitals – denying them adequate resources, facilities and staff.

“Our doctors and nurses are working extremely hard but they’re simply not being supported by the State Government,” Mr Stoner said.

“In a recent survey, rural doctors said they were concerned about hospital closures, outdated equipment and a lack of resources.

“Country patients are tired of being forced to wait for months for surgery. Under Labor, there is one standard of health care for the city, and another for rural and regional NSW.

“Until the Iemma Government recognises the serious problems in the rural health system and starts managing hospitals properly, waiting lists will continue to blow out.”

** Figures published on NSW Health website http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/waitingtimes/byhosp.html

Contact: Andrew Stoner 0427 164 092 or Meredith Marks 0431 954 822

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577