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COMMENT: A Herald Fair Care series is examining whether doctors in dual practice contribute to long waits for elective surgeries. Former Health Ministry deputy director-general Kathy Spencer outlines why long waits are not inevitable and could be addressed.

A close friend of mine recently underwent a four-hour operation on her back.

When the surgery finally happened, she had been waiting for more than eight months.

During the wait, her spinal cord was being squeezed, causing her a lot of pain. She couldn't walk far, and she was living with the possibility of paralysis.

When surgery was prescribed, she was given

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More ambition is needed

The system is being reviewed