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Orthopaedics project on target for first year

27 June 2005 Media Statement

Orthopaedics project on target for first year

The Government’s orthopaedic project has so far delivered even more major hip and knee operations than planned, for the eleven months of its first year.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Health Minister Annette King say the project, costing $30 million in 2004-05, is resulting in many more orthopaedic operations, as it was designed to do.

So far, after 11 months, 6277 major joint operations have been performed, well on track to meet the year’s target of 6643.

Helen Clark says she is particularly pleased that six boards have already exceeded or met their targets. “That is very encouraging. This project is all about making a special effort to improve quality of life, by relieving pain and restoring independence. This project is of particular benefit to older New Zealanders. I am very pleased that boards, surgeons, nurses and all other hospital staff have got behind the programme so enthusiastically.”

Annette King also praised the commitment of individual DHBs and health professionals. “We all know how difficult it can be at times when acute cases can disrupt scheduled elective surgery, but these results show what can be achieved when everyone works together, using all available resources."

The project, to cost up to an extra $70 million a year when fully implemented in 2007/08, is designed to double the number of major joint operations currently performed, Annette King said.

“This project will ultimately make a huge difference to the lives of another 4650 New Zealanders each year. In the first year we aim to do an extra 1890 operations, and everyone is determined to get there. In 2005-06 we will be performing nearly another 1000 joint operations on top of this year’s figure.

“The success of this project is a good omen for the new $17 million cataract initiative announced in May. That project will also improve quality of life, for older people particularly, with an extra 7500 operations over the next three years.”

Helen Clark says New Zealanders can celebrate a number of health events this week. “Tomorrow Annette King launches the new New Zealand Mental Health Plan, underlining our Labour-led Government’s commitment to continue improving mental health services in the years ahead. On July 1 we roll out funding to ensure more affordable health care for 18 to 24 year olds enrolled with doctors in Primary Health Organisations.

This week we also announce regional details of new funding for palliative care and cancer drugs.

“These initiatives are all part of Labour's programme to build a strong and fair public health system. Reckless tax cuts and user pays in health wouold destroy the huge progress Labour has made in health over the past 5 and ½ years," Helen Clark and Annette King said.

The following table provides a regional breakdown of additional orthopaedic operations being performed this year. NB: Counties Manukau, Lakes, South Canterbury, West and Whanganui DHBs have already exceeded their targets, while Otago has reached its target.

DHB Full year
Auckland 250 DHB anticipates it will be 20-30 under target
Bay of Plenty 100 On target
Canterbury 250 On target
Capital and Coast 35 DHB anticipates will be 5 short.
Counties Manukau 250 Completed full year target
Hawke's Bay 55 On target
Hutt 50 DHB anticipates will achieve target.
Lakes 50 Completed full year target
MidCentral 65 On target
Nelson-Marlborough 75 On target.
Northland 100 On target.
Otago 80 Completed full year target
South Canterbury 30 Completed full year target
Southland 20 DHB anticipates will achieve target.
Tairawhiti 20 DHB anticipates will achieve target.
Taranaki 50 On target.
Waikato 50 On target
Wairarapa 0 Ahead of intervention rate before project began
Waitemata 300 On target
West Coast 10 Completed full year target
Whanganui 50 Completed full year target


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