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Thanks for listening Minister. But more needed

Thanks for listening Minister. But more needed

Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive Sandra Kirby says the additional funding for elective surgery that was offered as a temporary measure five months ago and has been confirmed in yesterday’s Budget is a step in the right direction.

In January the Minister announced temporary funding for elective surgery to help alleviate current demand. “At the time we welcomed the initiative and asked for the increased levels to be made permanent. It is great that the Minister took this to heart.”

“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, increasing mobility and ensuring they can stay in the work force.”

“But more is needed. All of the evidence points to ever increasing need for elective surgery. The ageing population and the obesity epidemic will mean this increase while helping will barely meet current demand let alone future calls for surgery.”

“There is New Zealand and international evidence to show we can do much more to prevent surgery, with other treatment, such as physiotherapy. We remain hopeful that provision will be made for these services as well.”

“Arthritis is the most common disabling condition facing New Zealanders – but not a health priority. Not providing early intervention and effective treatment is creating health, welfare and economic headaches. Elective surgery is an important last resort – but not the whole story”, Ms Kirby concluded.


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