[Sitting date: 16 August 2012. Volume:682;Page:4472. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Dr PAUL HUTCHISON (National—Hunua) to the
Minister of Health: What progress can he report on the numbers of patients receiving elective surgery?
Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health)
: The latest district health board data shows that an extra 7,500 patients got elective surgery in the last 12 months, meaning 153,000 people got the operations they needed in the last financial year. More patients are getting hip and knee replacements, cataract surgeries, and tonsillectomies sooner, and more prompt treatment improves recovery and gets patients back to normal life sooner. This means that under this Government the number of patients receiving elective surgery each year is now 35,000 more than in the last year of the previous Government. Under National there has been a 30 percent increase in elective surgery.
Dr Paul Hutchison: What progress has been made on reducing waiting times for elective surgery?
Hon TONY RYALL: Members will be aware that the Auditor-General expressed some concern that about 10 percent of patients treated in a certain period were waiting more than 6 months on a waiting list. As a result, the Government has worked with district health boards in order to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than 6 months to get their treatment or specialist appointment. We have in the last year reduced that number by 85 percent, from 5,700 to 840 patients. This includes 690 patients on Canterbury District Health Board’s list, and if they are excluded, only 152 patients who are booked to see a specialist or get surgery are waiting more than 6 months across the country. This is a great achievement by the doctors and nurses, and the New Zealand public health service.