Source: New Zealand Government – Budget 2015: $98m for more elective surgery

An extra $98 million will be invested in Budget 2015 to provide more New Zealanders with timely elective surgery, and to improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

“Access to elective surgery is a top priority for the Government. Elective surgery makes a real difference to patients and their families – it reduces pain, increases independence, and improves quality of life,” Dr Coleman says.

“The number of patients receiving elective surgery has increased from 118,000 in 2007/08 to 162,000 in 2013/14. That’s 44,000 more operations – a 37 per cent increase.

“This funding boost will mean that even more New Zealanders can benefit from elective surgery. We want to maintain the momentum and continue to deliver year-on-year increases in elective surgery.”

The extra $98 million includes $48 million over four years as part of the continued effort to increase elective surgeries by an average of 4,000 a year.

An additional $50 million is being invested over three years to support extra orthopaedic and general surgeries, and to create early intervention orthopaedic teams, as announced last year. This includes:

  • $30 million to lift surgery for people with a range of orthopaedic conditions (such as hip, knee, shoulder and spinal conditions);
  • $14 million for extra general surgeries (including hernia, vein and gall stone operations);
  • $6 million to create community based multi-disciplinary early intervention teams for diagnosis and management of orthopaedic conditions, helping to improve patients’ quality of life and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.

“We want to keep people active and well for longer at home in their community,” Dr Coleman says. “There are a lot of people with osteoarthritis where early intervention in a community setting is appropriate.

“Early intervention can deliver improvements in diagnosis, self-management, education and exercise, and pain management. These new early intervention teams will make a real difference to patients and their families.”

Health funding has increased every year under this Government. Health is expected to receive the largest share of new funding in Budget 2015.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.