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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

up on waiting

Media Release

Shadow Minister for Health
Tuesday January 17, 2006

Disgraceful Labor cover-up on waiting lists

Shadow Health Minister Sue Napier today accused the Lennon Labor Government of engaging in a disgraceful cover-up of waiting list statistics.

Mrs Napier said the Lennon Labor Government’s claim that the December quarter figures would be released by the end of this month were a clear breach of a State Government commitment to release them within ten days of the end of every quarter.

According to this policy which is confirmed on the Department of Health and Human Services website the December quarter figures should have been released no later than the close of business yesterday.

The elective surgery waiting list website states: This information is updated 10 working days following the end of each quarter.

“It would appear the Lennon Labor Government, as we enter an election year, has torn up its policy of providing waiting list statistics within ten days of the close of the quarter.

“This is an arrogant cover-up that will not be tolerated by the Tasmanian community.

“What is it that the Lennon Labor Government is so desperate to hide?

“Tasmanians would have thought that more than a year after Labor’s so-called Better Hospitals package was announced, the State Government would be trumpeting the waiting list statistics, because by now, we ought to be seeing drastic reductions in the unacceptably high number of Tasmanians languishing on waiting lists for surgery in the public hospital system.

“Instead we are seeing the reverse secrecy and cover-ups and a Labor Government only interested in its propaganda and spin.”

Mrs Napier said waiting lists were a shameful indictment on the Lennon Labor Government, highlighting its gross incompetence at managing health, and its warped priorities when it comes to spending taxpayers money.

“Since 1998, when Labor was elected, waiting lists have soared 18 per cent to more than 7000 during a time when the economy has benefited from unprecedented GST and taxation windfalls.

“And what is worse is that the true number of Tasmanians waiting for surgery would be far higher if Labor would only release the blow-out in the number of people waiting to see a specialist.

“This is the first step before a person can even be put on a waiting list for surgery, but while other States such as WA have come clean on the number of people waiting to see specialists, Lennon Labor has disgracefully refused.”

Mrs Napier demanded the Lennon Labor Government release the December quarter waiting lists today and if it won’t to explain why its policy of releasing them within ten days of the end of each quarter has been torn to shreds.

For more information, please contact:
Georgia Warner (03) 6233 2370 or 0418 564 073



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