MaltaToday | 16 July 2008 | MLP offers cooperation in cutting down waiting lists

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NEWS | Wednesday, 16 July 2008

MLP offers cooperation in cutting down waiting lists

Labour shadow minister for health Karl Chircop yesterday said the Opposition was in agreement with social policy minister John Dalli over the growing waiting list for operations, which has now reached 18,900.
Chircop said it was scandalous that it was in fact being officially confirmed that despite the €600 million spend on Mater Dei, half of its operating theatres were not being used.
“It is obvious that is more theatres are used it will be easier to cut down on the waiting list. Waiting for four years for surgery is painful ordeal for patients who have paid for this service with their taxes. It is important that new rights are given to patients rather than waiting for EU directives for this to happen,” Chircop said.
Chircop said Labour wanted a report into how waiting lists had exploded from 4,500 in 1998 to 18,900 in 2008, and for decisive action to be taken immediately. “The increase of 14,400 or 320% in the waiting list in the last decade jars with the promise made by former health minister Louis Deguara in 2000 – eight years ago – that the Nationalist government was working on reducing the waiting list.
“Contrary to what prime minister Lawrence Gonzi said in June 2005, the waiting list had increased by 77% between 1998 and 2003, and under his leadership, by 136%,” Chircop said.
Labour was ready to cooperate with the government for a solution to be found, Chircop said: “We believe every patient should have equal access to medical treatment irrespectively of patients’ incomes.”

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