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Progress On Waiting Times

Health Minister Annette King today welcomed the fact that the Elective Services Second Quarterly Report for 2000/2001 shows New Zealanders are spending less time waiting for care.

The Ministry of Health released the report today.

Mrs King said she was particularly pleased the content and format of the report had been revamped to make it easier to understand.

"There was a great deal of genuine confusion, mostly relating to residual waiting lists and active review lists, when the first quarterly report was released. This report sets out the figures in a way that will make for easier and more transparent comparisons when future quarterly reports are released.

“This Government is committed to an open and transparent process to show what is happening to waiting times for elective services. I will welcome suggestions for making future reports still easier to understand."

Mrs King said the report showed continuing progress, with 81 percent of patients seeing hospital specialists within six months of referral, and the number of people waiting longer than six months down from 17,165 to 14,834 so far this year.

"It is a concern, however, that the report indicates that about 7000 fewer operations were carried out in the first two quarters than were actually funded. The Government wants all operations for which funding has been provided to be actually carried out, and I will be discussing with officials and district health board chairs how we can make sure this happens."

The report is available on the Ministry of Health's website, www.moh.govt.nz

Ends

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