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Faster assessments for treatment under Labour

9 May 2006 Media Statement

Faster assessments for treatment under Labour

The speed at which New Zealanders get their First Specialist Assessments (FSAs) for treatment in public hospitals has increased significantly under the Labour-led government, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Figures released today show that despite claims to the contrary, the percentage of people with a wait time of less than six months has increased by nearly 10 per cent since 2000. Around half of people in need of a specialist assessment have a wait time of less than two months.

"At any one time we have tens of thousands of people who need to be assessed for treatment in our public hospitals," Pete Hodgson said. "Under this government people are being assessed faster and faster every year, allowing them to get a clear picture of whether or not they require treatment.

"The share of people with a wait time of less than six months has climbed from 70.5 per cent in 2000 to 80.4 per cent last year. That's a major improvement, but I'll be the first to say that it's not good enough.

"We still need to work harder to make sure all people who qualify for assessments are getting them quickly. That means getting prioritisation working in every DHB so we can make further progress – we're not there yet."

Today's announcement follows the release of figures last week showing that the number of people waiting longer than six months for a specialist assessment has fallen by 42 per cent under the Labour-led government.

Table showing faster times for FSAs (2000-2005)

Contact: Jason Knauf, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9918 or (021) 71 9881, email: Jason.Knauf@parliament.govt.nz, http://www.beehive.govt.nz/hodgson

Length of time waiting for First Specialist Appointment
Medical and surgical specialties, as at 31 December

For under 2, 6, 12 and 18 months

2000 38.4% 70.5% 89.1% 95.0%
2001 40.7% 71.4% 89.8% 95.6%
2002 43.3% 74.0% 89.1% 94.5%
2003 43.9% 76.6% 91.6% 96.4%
2004 45.8% 78.8% 93.0% 97.3%
2005 46.6% 80.4% 94.2% 97.7%


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