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Minister pleased with orthopaedic initiative

2 February 2005 Media Statement

Minister pleased with orthopaedic initiative progress

The number of major joint replacements in the first five months of this financial year has increased 33 per cent on the same period in 2003-04, says Health Minister Annette King.

Ms King says she is delighted at the enthusiasm with which District Health Boards and orthopaedic specialists are implementing the orthopaedic initiative she and Prime Minister Helen Clark announced in May last year.

The project is set to double the number of major hip and knee replacement operations within four years, when funding will reach an extra $70 million each year.

“This project will ultimately enable another 4650 New Zealanders each year to regain their physical independence, and a great start has been made in the first five months,” Ms King said today.

“A total of 2893 major joint replacements were delivered in that period, compared with 2182 in the same period the previous year. And even better news is the fact that DHBs are reporting that they expect to maintain progress and deliver their 2004-05 allocations.

“Major joint replacements are the only treatment option for patients with high levels of immobility and crippling pain. Such operations dramatically improve the quality of life by relieving pain and restoring independence.

“I am delighted that current progress confirms that within four years New Zealand will have an intervention rate that can stand proudly alongside any country in the world.”

ENDS

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