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A Viable Option For Extra Cataract Operations

3 May 2005

Private Hospitals – A Viable Option For Extra Cataract Operations

The Government would be wise to consider Private Hospitals as a viable and cost-effective means to deliver on their commitment to fund up to 7,500 more cataract operations over the next three years, according to the New Zealand Private Hospitals Association. Responding to the Prime Minister and Health Minister’s joint announcement, Association Vice President Michael Woodhouse said that it was disappointing that the Government would rather spend money on transporting patients out of region than use available capacity in local private facilities.

“The Minister has explicitly directed DHBs to use their own facilities as the first option, and then those of neighbouring DHBs if more capacity is needed. Private facilities would only be used in the event that the two former options were not possible”, said Mr Woodhouse. “This clearly demonstrates the government will still put ideology before cost effective use of taxpayer funds.”

“Most surgical members of the Private Hospitals Association are not-for-profit organisations and exist to fill an ever widening gap between the Government’s stated objectives and their ability and willingness to pay”. More than half of all elective surgery undertaken in New Zealand is now performed in a Private Hospital.

“When will the government realise that Private Hospitals could play a greater role in achieving the government’s objectives?” asked Mr Woodhouse today.

ENDS

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