Shane Reti: 'Why are there 36,000 people still waiting for help, Labour?'

By Stefan Dimitrof

National health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Maniapoto) says yesterday’s government budget is made up of "layers and layers of bureaucracy that we shouldn’t be spending health money on”.

He talked to teaomā about what he thinks of the significant hauora spend in the budget.

He said the $13.2 billion health boost was cause for him to take particular notice of the finer details of what was being presented to the people of Aotearoa.

The fund has been pinned to pay off district health board deficits and to help fund more drugs and ambulances.

“We are interested in the quality of the spend. While we saw a lot of money go to health, the link to outcomes is not clear”.

“Is there any explanation for the 36,000 people waiting more than four months to see a specialist? How is this going to directly benefit them?”

'Layers of bureaucracy'

Reti said he had asked the health minister to ensure that Māori health providers we adequately funded through the pandemic response.

“We want to see them empowered and we want to see them reaching those parts of the system that they are the best at reaching."

“What we don’t want is layers and layers of bureaucracy between those at the coalface between the providers that are working so hard and the minister and the ones that need to be held accountable.”

Dr Reti said he and National would be holding the government accountable for the outcomes of the budget and the backlog of 36,000 are on the specialist waiting list being dealt with and the emergency room waiting times to be reduced.

“There was a report of a lady in Waikato Hospital waiting for 10 hours in the emergency department. Counting was stopped in June last year and is no longer being measured.

20 mobile dental clinics?

“That is what we need to measure. Those are the outcomes and that is what we will hold the government and ourselves accountable for.”

Dr Reti said it was a shame that so much money has been spent on the DHB deficits as the government had “taken its eye off the ball”.

He noted that in the 2020 election campaign the first budget promised 20 mobile dental clinics.

"That was a failed promise last year and, by the way, it's another failed promise this year.

“There are some holes there that really need to be addressed."