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Electives announcement rattles Ryall

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

19 May 2008 Media Statement

Electives announcement rattles Ryall

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said if laughter is the best medicine then Tony Ryall delivered a heft dose of it today with claims that Labour stole his health policy.

Mr Cunliffe said yesterday’s announcement will see tens of thousands more New Zealanders accessing specialist services, and inpatient and outpatient elective procedures.

“This announcement was so good and will benefit so many people that the National Party have attempted to claim it was all their idea.

“Given that their health policy is limited to a vague discussion document that omits their plan to let GP fees sky rocket, Mr Ryall’s claim is disingenuous.”

Mr Cunliffe said yesterday’s announcement was part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to provide New Zealanders with better and more accessible health services.

Elective funding and patient throughput has increased significantly in each of the last three budgets.

Last year more than 112,000 patients received elective surgery the highest rate since reliable reporting began.

Mr Cunliffe said he was proud of the investment made by this government over a considerable number of years that was benefiting real New Zealanders.

“In the past nine years, we have invested heavily in primary care helping to ensure more New Zealanders can access this vital service, we increased the number of frontline health workers, increased elective surgery to record levels and funded significant improvements and building programmes for hospitals around the country.”

He was pleased at the level of support he had received so far regarding the announcement.

Indications of support have so far been received by DHBNZ, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists and the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

“The New Zealand public is tiring of Mr Ryall’s claim that the glass is half empty regarding elective surgery when the fact is its approaching full.”


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Frequently asked questions about elective surgery funding increase.

Has the number of elective surgery procedures been increasing?

Yes in the last financial year District Health Boards delivered a record 112,000 elective surgery procedures.

Is the increase in elective surgery procedures keeping up with population growth?

Yes, in 2001/2002 there were 199 discharges from elective surgery procedures per 10,000 people. In 2006/2007 that had grown by 207 people per 10,000.

Investments in the 2007 and 2008 budgets will see further increases per capita.

Nationals claims that service increase are not keeping up with population are simply not supported by the facts

Does the health sector have capacity to deliver these extra procedures?

Yes, this new funding allows DHBs to develop initiatives that fit their needs and capacity. For instance DHBs can set their own priorities for which type of surgery this will be funded.

Is this one off funding in an election year?

No, over the past nine years there has been a huge increase in funding including

• Undertaken the single largest hospital building programme in living memory with new public hospitals from Kaitaia to Invercargill (over $1.2 billion already committed) and when completed will add 22 new operating theatres.

• Invested and additional $2.2 billion dollars into primary healthcare. This investment focuses on disease and illness prevention, health promotion and getting ahead of chronic disease

• Provided an additional 10,000 New Zealanders a year with elective surgery ($200 million over 4 years). Funding made permanent in Budget 2007).

ENDS

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