Funding for elective surgery grows under National

Column Articles
Friday, May 15, 2015

In the lead up to the Budget announcement on May 21, we have announced an extra $98 million will be invested to provide more New Zealanders with elective surgery and to improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions. This means more hip, knee and other elective operations for those who need them.

The good news for the Bay is that our DHB is already exceeding its elective surgery performance targets, and so this additional funding will only support the good work already happening there.

National has made access to elective surgery a top priority while in government. In fact we have had six years of record increases, from 118,000 in 2007/08 to 162,000 in 2013/14. That’s 44,000 more elective operations – an incredible 37 per cent increase. The extra $98 million includes $48 million over four years to help to continue to increase the number of elective surgeries being performed by an average of a further 4,000 a year.

There are a lot of people with osteoarthritis where early intervention in a community setting can be useful. In fact, we know early intervention can deliver improvements in diagnosis, self-management, education and exercise, and pain management. We think it’s important to help people to keep living more active and healthier lives for longer at home in the community, and these measures will do just that.

We’re seeing an increase in hospitals’ capacities being supported by government investment which is creating better results for locals. Only five weeks ago I was honoured to open the new day wing at Waipuna Hospice which has since boosted its range of services for an increasing number of patients.

Despite tight economic times, we have increased funding for health services each year. These increases mean delivering more elective surgeries for patients. It also means more doctors and nurses working in our communities and those communities are getting better, more convenient healthcare than ever before.

On July 1 free doctors’ visits will be extended to children aged under13, with more than 400,000 primary school-aged children expected to benefit from this $90 million investment. This policy is another great Budget initiative that will have a real effect on Kiwis’ lives and their children’s health.

National’s commitment to delivering better health services for New Zealanders and their families is getting results, and this year’s Budget will reaffirm that commitment.