Significant Progress With Certainty Over Treatment
Hon Wyatt Creech
Minister of Health
8 July 1999
Significant Progress With Certainty Over Hospital Treatment
"Hospitals and clinicians have made a lot of progress to get the booking systems working and in place, and it is paying off for New Zealanders," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.
"The latest quarterly update on booking systems shows more and more New Zealanders are getting certainty about their hospital treatment.
"In June 1996 close to 90,000 people were on the residual waiting list where they were uncertain about whether or when they would get treatment.
"The third quarterly report shows this has dropped to just over 58,000. In the past quarter alone the numbers waiting have come down by 10,000.
"We still need to make improvements, but this is substantial progress. Unfortunately some of the figures being thrown around by opponents of booking systems are without balance or context.
"Those who've been given certainty that they will get treatment within six months of assessment, but who are yet to be booked, has doubled to almost 11,000 in the past quarter. More people are also getting booked for a firm date for surgery.
"There were more than 90,000 new referrals for First Specialist Assessment in the past quarter. Almost three quarters of these (66,597) were seen within the six month standard time frame.
"In the next twelve months the focus is going on getting more people more operations in the 'front five' surgical specialties - orthopaedics, cardiac, ENT, ophthalmology and gynaecology. We expect to deliver approximately an extra 32,000 operations in the five areas. This will see the clearing of all people currently on waiting lists who meet the criteria for treatment," Mr Creech said.