Older Kiwis to miss out on electives

The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. 

“It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same as it was in 2011.

“Disturbingly over the same period, the growth rate of people over 65 using our District Health Boards has increased by 16.2 per cent. 

“The Government can go on saying they are doing more cataract and joint operations but the truth is that they are not keeping pace with demographics as the baby boomers reach retirement age. 

“Four DHBs -- Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Southern and Taranaki -- are struggling to meet targets for hip and knee operations and two, Bay of Plenty and Waikato have failed to meet the targets for cataracts.

 “Eleven district health boards did nearly 5,000 less cataract surgeries than they were expected to do since 2011. When it comes to knee and hip surgery, eight DHBs have done 2,000 less surgeries since 2011. 

“The statistics are grim and show that the $1.7 billion cut in health funding is going to have a huge impact on the nation’s health in the coming decades. 

“The Government is going to have to spend up big time in the coming Budget to avoid a demographic time bomb around our baby boomers,” says Annette King.