New data highlights the hidden costs of lockdown for hospital patients needing non-urgent care.
Data from the District Health Board, shows thousands of patients are waiting longer than the expected four months for specialist treatment, with Auckland hospitals straining to catch up.
Last year, the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists reported 430,000 people had an un-met need for hospital care, but they estimate this has grown to about half a million since Covid.
Executive director Sarah Dalton told Mike Hosking the wait times are putting extra strain on people's lives.
"There are patients waiting for treatment who are in significant pain which is effecting their ability to work."
Dalton says this has been an issue for years, but Covid-19 has exacerbated it.
She says it doesn't matter where you go in New Zealand mental health workers will say they're tired, stressed and that demand is higher than capacity.