Kiwi Polemicist

August 29, 2008

What the government does with your money is none of your business. Yeah right.

This article tells how the Capital and Coast District Health Board is sending at least ten, possibly fifty, patients to Australia for heart surgery. There’s nothing new about patients going overseas for treatment, because the State health system has a crippling disease (it’s called State Ownership) and can’t treat the taxpayers who fund the system. However, there’s a few points that this article doesn’t mention.

♦ to get cardiac surgery in a public hospital you have to be at death’s door, so it is reasonable to assume that some or all of these people will need a medical escort (airlines don’t like people dying on their planes, even though the Health Board might find such an event cost effective) and some may have to travel as a stretcher case. Both options are very expensive. In a plane the air pressure can be equivalent to being 8,000 feet up a mountain and that is very hard on seriously ill people.

♦ tonight Radio NZ said that the Health Board will also fly over a friend of the patient, and pay for both to stay in Australia for a fortnight. That’s great, but it’s expensive and any doctor will tell you that the stress of the trip and of being away from home will result in a poorer outcome for the patient.

♦ I’ve saved the best until last. Radio NZ said that the Health Board will not reveal the cost of sending patients to Australia for reasons of “commercial sensitivity”. Well excuse me, but anyone who is spending the taxpayers’ money is accountable to the taxpayers for every penny. It may be that the hospital in Australia doesn’t want to reveal their pricing: if so the Health Board should say “Reveal or we’ll go elsewhere”.

This is what happens when the State runs hospitals: you can’t even find out how much of your money they’re pouring down a particular drain.

The absolute arrogance of the State is clear when they won’t tell taxpayers how their money is spent.

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