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Record Spending on Elective Surgery

Hon Annette King
Minister of Health

Record Spending on Elective Surgery

16 June 2000

Health Minister Annette King today described the half a billion dollars set aside for elective surgery in the Budget as the "most money ever to be spent to relieve distress, ill health and incapacity for New Zealanders".

Mrs King said the $74 million extra for elective surgery announced in the Budget, on top of $22 million extra announced at the end of April, would provide for more than 25,000 more procedures in 2000/01.

"The extra $74 million will be ongoing in future years as well. This is a really determined effort to cut the length of time New Zealanders are having to wait, often in pain or discomfort, for operations or for their first specialist assessments.

"This will make a huge dent in the time people have to wait for operations, but there will always be waiting lists, of course.

"It is a shame some commentators keep talking about the number of people on the list. The number of people on waiting lists is not the important factor. It is the time they have to wait that is important.

"We want to make sure no one has to reach a state of unreasonable distress, iill health or incapacity before they can get an operation in the public health service. That is what this extra funding is setting out to achieve."

Mrs King said elective surgery funding was not targeted specifically at Maori, but as Maori had higher clinical need levels than non-Maori, it could be expected they would benefit particularly from the extra money.

ENDS

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