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Predicted Wave of Orthopaedic Surgery Needs To Be Prevented

18 March 2014

Predicted Wave of Orthopaedic Surgery Needs To Be Prevented

Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive Sandra Kirby urges Hon. Tony Ryall, Minister of Health and DHB’s to reflect on the fact that we appear to be denying surgery to people who qualify on surgical grounds, but caught up in the rationing system, leaving them to bear the pain, loss of work and increasing disability. The community then collectively picks up the costs of benefits, ongoing medical costs and loss of lifestyles.

“For many people with osteoarthritis having a joint replaced, such as hip or knee, is a successful and safe procedure that is important in reducing pain and increasing mobility,” Ms Kirby said today.

But joint replacement on its own is not enough. In addition to surgery, the international evidence shows we can do much more to prevent surgery, with other treatment, such as physiotherapy, and promotions focussed on weight control, diet and exercise. We are hopeful that provision will be made for these services as well and take a preventative approach to reduce the health and personal costs.

We would also like to think that government will address the fact that current funding levels are not meeting New Zealand’s level of needs for osteoarthritis treatment including joint replacements. Data suggests that the need for surgery will snowball due to the ageing population and obesity.

We understand that as operations go, joint replacement is second only to heart surgery in restoring quality of life, and we want to see more New Zealanders being able to benefit from this procedure, Ms Kirby concluded.

Key facts about joint replacement surgery
• Joints can be damaged by arthritis and other diseases, injuries, or other causes.
• Joint replacement surgery is removing a damaged joint and putting in a new one
• A new joint can be made of plastic, metal, or both.
• The New Zealand Joint Registry records that 182,905 registered joint arthroplasties (replacements) were performed on 130,985 individual patients during the 14 years to 31 December 2012.
(Source: http://www.nzoa.org.nz/system/files/NJR%2014%20Year%20Report.pdf )

About Arthritis New Zealand
• Arthritis New Zealand is a national organisation whose mission is to improve the lives of people who are affected by arthritis.
• There are 530,000 New Zealanders living with arthritis.
• There are more than 140 different forms of arthritis of which osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis are the most prevalent.
• There are 1,000 children and young people living with the pain of arthritis.
• Chances are someone you love lives with arthritis.
• Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in our country,
• There is no cure.
• It can affect anyone, at any age, at any time.
• There are 17,940 people receiving sickness or invalids benefits as a result of musculo-skeletal conditions, the bulk of which will be arthritis.
• Follow this link to read Fit For Work? Musculoskeletal Disorders and the New Zealand Labour Market: http://www.arthritis.org.nz/2012/09/fit-for-work/
• Arthritis New Zealand receives only 12 per cent of its funding from government agencies. Without the generosity of our donors and volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to help those who live with the pain of arthritis every day.
• Arthritis New Zealand is the leader in the provision of awareness, education, services and advocacy for arthritis in New Zealand.

ENDS

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