Nearly 60,000 Kiwis were declined a first specialist assessment referral in 2015 – 2016 according to the Government’s own figures says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.
“This is a depressing failure which is worse than Labour’s own investigations have shown. What is even more concerning is that one in five of these cases are orthopaedic declines - things like knees and hips.
“These figures from the Government’s national flow collection data measures both people who are considered below the clinical threshold and others who would benefit from an assessment but can’t be treated because our District Health Boards just don’t have the capacity.
“It’s clear that the rate of hip and knee elective surgery has slowed to just 259 additional surgeries nationally, a measly 2.7 per cent increase. This is becoming increasingly worrying as DHBs have to deal with an aging cohort of New Zealanders.
“DHBs like Hutt, Lakes, MidCentral, Northland, South Canterbury, Tairāwhiti, Waikato and Whanganui all did less hip and knee surgery compared to the previous year.
“The Minister has to understand this is having a real impact on middle New Zealand.
“Jonathan Coleman needs to accept the cut this Government has made of over $1.7 billion to Health is making the work of our DHBs increasingly impossible.
“Labour promises it will remedy this shortfall and fund Health as it must be funded,” says Annette King.