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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


More ambition is needed

The system is being reviewed