Rather than listen to bad news about an increasing shortage of hospital specialists and do something about it Health Minister Tony Ryall is attacking the messenger, the Green Party said today.
"Tony Ryall says he values the opinion of the health sector yet when the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists warns of a looming crisis in the health sector he accuses them of self-interest," Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said today.
The Association's report shows the shortage of senior doctors facing increased workloads coinciding with increased hospital admissions.
"It will cost more in the long run to pay the increasing cost associated with patients needing to come back to hospital and to cover high rates for locums used to plug staffing holes. This National Government is focussed on short-term savings but they are not real savings and will cost more in the long run," Mr Hague said.
"Tony Ryall continues to be dishonest about the number of specialist doctors and attacks the association for telling the truth.
"The Health Minister should stop spinning the facts and implement the plan to secure a safe and sustainable specialist workforce developed jointly by District Health Boards and the Association in 2010.
"Hopefully this report will alert New Zealanders to look beyond Tony Ryall's false assurances. The Minister is using statistics showing more elective surgery to paper over the yawning cracks in our health system."