New Zealand Government Accused of Data Cleansing

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Ian Powell, executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, has accused the New Zealand government of data cleansing after it emerged that almost 200,000 thousand people are being kept off elective surgery waiting lists.

According to an article published by Stuff, Mr Powell said

“there was a “de facto” waiting list of “those people waiting for the waiting list” but there were no official figures to indicate how many people were on the de facto list.

“It is very clearly one area the Government doesn’t seem to be interested in having any data on.

It’s data cleansing. You don’t record because it’s inconvenient to record. That goes back to central Government, not the district health board.”

The existence of a “de-facto” list was revealed in research commissioned by the Health Funds Association of New Zealand and the Private Surgical Hospitals Association.

They found that last year 280,000 people were told they required elective surgery but 170,000 of them weren’t allowed onto waiting lists, which have a 5 month treatment threshold.

Labour Party health spokeswoman MP Annette King said district health boards around the country were sending out letters to thousands of desperate patients saying that while their GP and specialist had recommended surgery – and they would benefit from it – they did not meet the threshold for an operation.

The article cited the case of a man from New Plymouth who needed a hip replacement but was told he was ineligible for the waiting list because “to actually get on the list you have to be on crutches or in a wheelchair” in the meantime, how was he supposed to carry out his work?

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5 thoughts on “New Zealand Government Accused of Data Cleansing

  1. The Data Cleansing applies elsewhere too:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9687884/Unemployment-drops-to-6-0pc
    Unemployment drops to 6.0pc

    The rebuttal:

    Tuafan10 minutes ago
    That’s not what the Roy Morgan Unemployment Analysis that was just released shows! It shows ‘real unemployment’, including those who only have Part Time Work when needing Full Time, rose 2.7% – so real unemployment in NZ is now at 19.8%! Why don’t you report that?

    I wonder how many people have had their lives destroyed by training for a role they were destined never to get, thanks to the quite impenetrable (unless you’re rabidly pro-NZ in every aspect) “Kiwi social network”

  2. I never purchased it. It was more than we could afford to obtain private insurance, because life in general was so expensive there. We were stripped of any pennies we had, in the manner of locusts descending on a field with a few stalks still standing. But everyone told me it was the way to go, if you wanted an operation and not wait for years and years. I left the country thank god before I needed any serious operation, but personally my health was ruined there.

  3. I can confirm that this is very true. I was on the pending list last November, only to get a letter in December advising I wasn’t even going to be getting an appointment with the consultant to confirm that which has already been confirmed. My hip is so ‘buggered’ I can barley walk 500m, I’m taking around 24 pills a day for pain and inflammation. My GP has written and even rung the department on my behalf, to no avail. I have a good mate who works in the labs at the local hospital who tells me that 100’s are getting bumped off to massage the figures in an election year. If they don’t get the lists down to less than a 12 week waiting time the government is threatening them with fines. So its all politicizing at the expense of peoples well being. I’m a 50 year old self employed male. Silly me why did I ever think that being a hard working tax payer would ever get me medical care in my time of need….

    • It’s the elderly who are getting screwed the worst over there, as far as rank in the “queue” to receive one of the rationed replacements, operations, interventions. Because they are old, they are not valued as much (they would not “get as much out of a hip replacement as a young person would”), so they keep getting bumped down the queue for the quota of those that are available in a given year. The U.S. system is screwed up in its own way, but we don’t devalue our old as not worthy of fixing up until they are pretty much near death and intervention would just make it more painful for them. In New Zealand, their idea of “too old to be able to make good use of healthcare supplied” is, like, 60s onward…the moral of the story is, don’t rely on the public system in New Zealand. Get good private health insurance.

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