Headlines you won’t see at the NZ Herald: Operations up massive 37% since 2008

If I provide data to a newspaper (and they’ve even won awards off of the back of that info) it is dirty politics, but when a politician does it the Herald journalist takes it and runs a negative hit job on the government and it is business as usual.

Despite figures showing a massive increase in elective surgery since National took over the NZ Herald decides to put NZ First’s negative spin on the headline and the article.

And don’t you just love the weaselly way they introduce the fact that it was NZ First who slipped them the numbers.

The Government’s much-publicised increase in hip, knee and other elective operations has been questioned in light of data which appeared to show the proportion of people missing out on treatment was growing.

But officials say growing waiting lists and a rising number of patients leaving hospital untreated do not tell the whole story.

The number of patients getting elective surgery has steadily increased over the past decade – especially after it was made a national health target in 2007. Since National came to power in 2008, the number of operations has lifted from 118,000 to 162,000 a year.

However, data released under the Official Information Act shows the proportion of patients on waiting lists who were leaving hospital untreated was also rising over the same period. As many as 30 per cent on waiting lists in some regions had their operation delayed or cancelled.

At Auckland District Health Board, there was a waiting list of 27,200 people for elective surgery last year. Of that number, 4558 patients – nearly 20 per cent – were admitted but left hospital without treatment. Last year up to November, 3822 patients out of 22,346 left untreated.

Sounds official doesn’t it, it is not until later that you find out where the data actually came from.

New Zealand First health spokeswoman Barbara Stewart, who provided the data to the Herald, said the ratio of treated to untreated had “markedly deteriorated” over the past decade.

And right at the bottom, long after people have digested a misleading headline and been bored to death with meaningless figure we find the real gold.

I’m surprised the Herald left this in.

Asked about the figures, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman pointed to the dramatic increase in total operations under National – up 37 per cent since 2008.

“This increase in access is supporting more people to be seen, a key approach in addressing … demand.”

The Government committed a further $27.5 million a year in this year’s Budget to meet increased demand for elective surgery.

Trust the NZ Herald to tell you the truth?

Not likely, mostly it is spin to undermine good news. There were many ways Isaac Davidson could have written that up but then again look who he socialises with…

 

– The NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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