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NZers’ continued access to elective surgery vital

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                           1 December 2009

NZers’ continued access to elective surgery vital

 The government is being urged to ensure New Zealanders can continue to access elective surgery, especially joint replacement and other orthopaedic surgical procedures, without undue impediment or delay.

The incoming president of the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association (NZOA), Mr John Calder, says the levels of joint replacement surgery in New Zealand now more closely match those achieved in some similar OECD countries.

“But it has taken us some time as a nation to get to this point and the benefits now to those in need are tremendous.  It would be of grave concern if, given current economic constraints, our progress was to be halted.”

Mr Calder is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Tauranga. He has considerable experience as a consultant in public and private practice, and has served in private hospital development as a director and board chairman.

He has been heavily involved in the acquisition and development of a group of private surgical hospitals and for 20 years has been chairman of the NZX-listed Wakefield Health Ltd.

He was also instrumental in developing the Grace Orthopaedic Centre in Tauranga.

Mr Calder said the health sector faces great challenges and he is concerned patients’ rights and access to orthopaedic surgery are given the emphasis they deserve.

“We are already seeing an increasing demand for ACC-funded elective surgery after accidents and it’s imperative that the appropriate funding and access issues are addressed carefully.”

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Mr Calder said the NZOA will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to ensure the consistent delivery of elective surgery, and he has welcomed the Health Minister’s call for greater clinician involvement in hospital management decision making and the emphasis on shifting resources into front line care programmes.

The Orthopaedic Association is also pleased to see further steps are being taken to encourage collaboration between DHBs, a move that should reduce duplication of resources and better facilitate optimal utilisation of clinicians.

 “The establishment of the National Health Board may well signal changes in governance of DHBs and this, too, will be an area for appropriate orthopaedic liaison.”

The New Zealand Orthopaedic Association provides representation for the over 200 practising orthopaedic surgeons and their patients in New Zealand.  


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