The story of patients waiting hours outside in a leaking tent in the middle of winter is appalling and shows a sector in crisis, the National Party’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Sick or injured New Zealanders deserve to wait inside an emergency department, not in a makeshift campground in the middle of winter.

“Health Minister Andrew Little’s refusal to acknowledge that the health sector is in crisis shows how out of touch he is with what is going on.

“Instead of addressing the critical issues right now, the Minster’s focus has been on rearranging the deck chairs in the health system in the middle of a pandemic.

“Unfortunately, North Shore is not the only emergency department that has people waiting outside in tents. We are hearing of more stories of this across other parts of the country.

“These stories have eerie similarities to the last time Labour crashed the health system, when patients were on trolleys in corridors and being sent to Australia.

“The Health Minister has already lost the support of the health sector. The least he can do now is to redirect some of the billion dollar health restructure funding to resolve the emergency department campgrounds.”