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Thousands more receive surgery commitments

22 March 2006

Thousands more receive surgery commitments

The number of New Zealanders with a commitment for elective surgery increased by over 4,600 in the year to December 2005, according to figures released by Health Minister Pete Hodgson today.

The figures also show that the number of patients with a commitment who had been waiting less than six months increased by 3,097 while those who had been waiting over six months increased by 1,559.

Pete Hodgson said that while he was happy to see DHBs giving surgery commitments to more patients, he remained concerned about the number of patients who had not been treated in less than six months.

"This government has been progressively reforming elective services to create a fairer and more transparent system for patients and their families," Pete Hodgson said. "The days where patients are left with no guarantee of treatment are gradually coming to an end.

"Clearly there is still more work to do. DHBs continue to treat the majority of patients with surgery commitments within six months, but there are still too many that they cannot get to.

"Managing a surgical booking system is a huge challenge for clinicians and hospital administrators. DHBs need to learn from each other as we all work to treat more patients and treat more of them in a timely fashion."

Details of the figures released today include:

- Total number of patients with a commitment to surgery increased by 4,656 in year to December 2004

-21,867 with a commitment to treatment had been waiting for less than six months

- 8,642 people with a commitment to treatment had been waiting for over six months

"It's important to keep in mind that these figures do not include the many thousands of patients receiving elective services in outpatient settings. The Ministry of Health will begin collecting non-admitted patient data on 1 July."

ENDS

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