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Big increase in patients accessing surgeons

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

20 August 2013

Big increase in patients accessing surgeons

The number of New Zealanders getting assessed by hospital specialists to see if they need surgery has risen by 40,000 under the National Government.

Health Minister Tony Ryall today announced a record 294,000 people received a surgical first specialist assessment last financial year – a 16 per cent increase compared to five years ago.

A surgical first specialist assessment is where patients are referred to hospitals by GPs to be evaluated for surgery.

“Under the National Government, more people are getting to see a hospital specialist to find out if they require surgery or receive expert advice on how to best manage their health condition. And people are getting that access faster,” says Mr Ryall.

“Five years of focus and more investment, is making a real difference to so many patients' lives and their families.

“This is a great success story for hospital staff. With an average of 8000 extra people receiving surgical assessments each year, we are seeing waiting times reduce and access increasing ahead of population growth.

“Under the previous government access to hospital specialists got harder with numbers flat-lining. Despite doubling the budget, the number of assessments carried out remained virtually the same.

“This record delivery is a real credit to the specialists and staff involved. It is great to see results for patients flowing on from National’s investment of an average $500 million extra each year over its five years” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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