Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman
26 October 2007
Where's your heart Mr Hodgson?
National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall says Pete Hodgson should be getting Capital Coast District Health Board bosses around the table to sort out the crisis in child cancer care in the country's capital.
"Wellingtonians are being asked to trust the people who, for eight years, have neglected this service.
"Now they are promising urgent action. Mr Hodgson should be holding Capital Coast to account instead of sitting idly by as child cancer services collapse."
Mr Ryall is referring to the imminent departure of Capital Coast's sole remaining paediatric cancer specialist, Anne Mitchell. Since July, child cancer patients from the capital have been travelling to Christchurch and Auckland for treatment following the departure of the capital's other child cancer specialist.
"No one senior from Capital Coast or the Ministry appears to be prepared to front up to parents of these cancer kids to explain what's going on. Where is Capital Coast boss Judith Aitken? Her public silence has been deafening.
"Glib assurances from managers don't wash."
National's Associate Health spokeswoman, Wellington-based Katrina Shanks, says Mr Hodgson should be showing some heart, and getting involved.
"These children are fighting a serious life threatening disease. The prospect of being separated from their families is bad enough, but now there are media reports of worse to come in the service they rely on.
"Come on Pete, where's your heart?"