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Nats put out dodgy numbers – again

National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.

“In Parliament on July 26, Jonathan Coleman said ‘we actually delivered 200,000 electives in 2016. Now, he’s claiming that he’s going to increase the number of electives from 174,000 to 200,000.

“That just doesn’t add up. Maybe, Dr Coleman had Steven Joyce’s help with the figures.

“When you dig deeper, the story gets worse. It turns out nearly all the so-called increase in electives have been due to re-classifying minor out-patient procedures like eye injections and skin lesion removals as electives. When Kiwis hear promises of more electives, they think more hip and knee surgeries, not minor procedures that GPs can perform.

“The other big question is where the money is going to come from. National has allocated just $120m in 2021 to supposedly fund 22,000 more electives. That’s $5,500 per operation, but the average major elective like a hip operation costs $17,000. Will DHBs be stung for the rest? What will have to be cut? Where is the money, Dr Coleman?

“National has systematically underfunded the health sector. Nearly 60,000 people didn’t get to see a specialist after a referral from their GP last year for an operation or other treatment.

“Labour’s Fiscal Plan allocates an additional $8b to reverse National’s underfunding and boost health care for Kiwis,” says David Clark.