“Labour has admitted that their health reforms haven’t just failed to address the post-code lottery, new data around waiting times shows that they’ve made it worse,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“I asked the Minister in Parliament whether this is acceptable. They admitted failure, simply saying “no.”

“Figures released to ACT through Written Parliamentary Questions show that the percentage of people accepted for an MRI or CT scan receiving their scan within the expected timeframe of six weeks is only being met by three out of twenty regions. What’s more concerning is that many regions aren’t even close to meeting the target.

“In Northland as little as 24 per cent of people are getting seen on time, when you cross the border to Waitematā 90 per cent are. Your chance of picking up a life-threatening illness on time could come down to whether you live a hundred kilometres up the road.

“Tairāwhiti is a bright spot amongst the statistics, with 99 per cent of patients seen on time. But it’s bad news if you happen to live down the coast in Hawke’s Bay where only 35 per cent of patients are seen on time.

“Capital & Coast is down to only 29.5 per cent of people being seen on time, but if you happen to live up the road in the Hutt Valley region you have a much better (but still not great) chance of being seen, with 52 per cent seen within the target.

"Nationally, the percentage of people waiting longer than the target of six weeks increased from 36.6 per cent to 39.1 per cent in just the last six months of 2022.

“The Government has been so focussed on increasing bureaucracy and injecting co-governance into the health system they have ignored what matters to Kiwis - that when Kiwis need treatment they can get appointments.

“While Labour was persevering with their administrative reform ACT was calling for midwives and nurses to be placed on the Green List fast-track to residency pathway, the Government didn’t listen and vacancies increased. I revealed a Ministerial Briefing which showed that Health Minister at the time Andrew Little was fully aware of the shortages across the health sector yet continued to ignore immigration settings.

“We’re seeing the result of Labour’s misguided priorities play out with stretched waiting times. The health system is in crisis and Kiwis want to have faith that an ambulance will turn up or they can get the care their taxes are paying for.

“ACT believes the future of our health system will be based on better training, better retention and better recruitment. ACT will release its Health Workforce Strategy in coming weeks which will promote real change in the healthcare system.”

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