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Ministry figures confirm waiting list pressure

Ministry figures confirm waiting list pressure

District Health Board data released today has confirmed more and more people are waiting for elective surgery.

The Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ) says the latest specialist referral figures from the Ministry of Health confirm two key trends:
1. The level of unmet need is increasing;
2. The considerable additional investment in health is only keeping pace with the growth in demand.

HFANZ chief executive Roger Styles said the figures were consistent with the association’s own research, which showed up to 280,000 people were waiting for surgery.

“The numbers reported by DHBs are in line with our research,” he said. “More and more people need surgery, but our public system is stretching just to keep pace with growing demand, while less urgent cases have to wait longer and longer.

“What the DHB figures don’t show is the gap between referrals and surgery. The gap between needing and getting surgery is unmet need, and that’s growing.”

Mr Styles said the ministry’s assessment of unmet need was lower than HFANZ’s, but the trend was unmistakeable.

“More people are waiting for surgery and they are waiting longer,” he said.


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