The number of people waiting longer than 24 hours in Emergency Departments has more than doubled in just a few months, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Health Minister Andrew Little revealed the latest appalling Emergency Department wait time figures today, with more than 540 people forced to wait longer than 24 hours in hospital EDs in June this year.

“That is a 182 per cent increase compared to April, when 191 people waited more than 24 hours in an Emergency Department.

“Any number of people waiting more than 24 hours to be treated is appalling, but it is shocking that the numbers have increased to this level.

“When people are forced to wait that long, they often give up and go home which can lead to tragic consequences. According to data in May 2022, more than 4,000 people gave up waiting and went home suffering.

“These reports are compounding with stories of a woman waiting more than 30 hours in Whangarei Hospital, Rawene Hospital closing their Emergency Department in the evening due to lack of staff, and the tragic case of a 50-year-old at Middlemore Hospital who gave up waiting and passed away at home with a brain bleed.

“Minister Little is failing at his core responsibility of making sure the sick and injured are being seen in a timely manner and New Zealanders are now paying the price. It is astonishing that the Minister continues to refuse to talk to Cabinet and put nurses on the straight to residency pathway to help alleviate some of the pressure.”