Surgery waiting list blows to 635

THE Member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell, says there are a total of 635 people now waiting for surgery at Grafton. Mr Cansdell says the official NSW Government figures show a dramatic rise in the surgery waiting list.

He said yesterday: "We desperately need the new theatres Labor promised at the last election."

Mr Cansdell said the figures show the 635 people are waiting for elective surgery in the Grafton area ? and that the number of people waiting for more than 12 months has nearly doubled since March 2004, from 93 to 176.

"When Bob Carr made his infamous promise to halve hospital waiting lists or resign back in 1995, there were only 185 people waiting at Grafton and none had been on the list for more than 12 months," Mr Cansdell said.

"What this shows is that we desperately need the new operating theatres at Grafton Hospital that the Labor Party promised on the eve of the 2003 state election.

"On 18 March 2003, then Labor Minister for Health Craig Knowles posed for the cameras at Grafton Hospital in full surgical gear, pledging $7 million for new operating theatres.

"Two years on we are still waiting for action, as, more importantly, are the growing number of locals booked in for elective surgery.

Mr Cansdell said the lower Clarence also needed more hospital funding with the waiting list for Maclean Hospital increasing from 28 to 48 over the last 12 months.

"Things will only get worse if Labor proceeds with its crazy plan to close down the Campbell Hospital in Coraki," he added.

Mr Cansdell said that figures across NSW show waiting lists have grown by 20,000 people over the term of the Carr Gov- ernment.

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