Underfunding hip & knee surgeries hurts

New research showing that people who would have got hip or knee surgery six years ago wouldn’t get it now reveals how broken our health system is, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.

“The New Zealand Medical Journal article reveals people in Otago aren’t receiving surgery when they need it and they’re becoming more disabled by the time they get treatment, if they get treatment at all.

“This follows up earlier research which showed 36 percent of patients recommended for surgery were sent back to their GP without surgery because of a lack of funding.

“Academics are unravelling the spin on National’s elective surgery figures and its time the Minister told the truth and admitted the numbers of orthopaedic surgeries are not actually meeting demand.

“It’s not a surprise that people are not getting the help required given that this Government has cut $1.7 billion from the health budget over six years.

“It is actually cost effective to give people orthopaedic surgery when they need it instead of making them wait.

“Under Labour there was ring-fenced funding for hip and knee surgery from 2004 – 2008 which led to an increase in the number of performed surgeries. This was so successful the Minister uses Labour’s 2008 figures in National’s elective numbers.

“It’s time the Government significantly increased the health budget and stopped the rationing of hip and knee surgeries, says Annette King.