(National Party media release)

Thousands of New Zealanders across the country every month have given up waiting in Emergency Departments and have left without being treated, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The tragic case of a patient who died after leaving Middlemore Emergency Department due to the long wait times could be repeated as thousands are recorded leaving ED’s each month.

“Data for the month of May 2022 shows that over 4,000 New Zealanders across the country have left the ED without being seen or treated. But these numbers have been in the thousands every month as far back as June 2021.

“This is further reinforced with Health Minister Andrew Little confirming last week that there was 540 people waiting more than 24 hours in ED’s in June this year. When people are forced to wait that long, they give up and go home.

“Short staffed doctors and nurses are doing their best while Minister Little denies there is even a crisis and refuses to help by insisting Cabinet put nurses on the fast track straight to residency pathway.

“Labour is wasting billions of health funding on bureaucrats and centralisation while frontline health workers are struggling and New Zealanders are being denied the health care they need.

“While the Health Minister fantasises about Shortland Street, the health sector is becoming overwhelmed – from general practice to hospital emergency rooms. Action must be taken before more tragedy ensues.”