More patients are getting the operations they need and they’re getting them faster according to the information from district health boards, including the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.
An extra 7,500 patients received elective surgery in the last 12 months, meaning 153,000 people got the operations they needed.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says this is the fourth year of record increases.
“Since the change of government in 2008, 30 per cent more patients are getting elective surgery.”
He says more patients are getting hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, and tonsillectomies sooner.
“More prompt treatment improves recovery and gets patients back to normal life sooner.
“We’ve also managed to greatly reduce the number of patients waiting for elective surgery or for a specialist assessment to see if they need surgery, with a particular focus on those waiting over six months.”
In the last year the number of patients across the country waiting longer than six months has been reduced by 85 per cent from 5,700 to 840.
“This includes 690 patients on Canterbury DHB’s list which has been exempted from the target this year. Not counting Canterbury, this means that now only 150 patients who are booked to see a specialist or for surgery are waiting more than six months across the country at any one time.
“The vast majority of DHBs have achieved the goal of no patients waiting longer than six months.”
Tony says the results show a step change in waiting times for New Zealand patients after more than a decade of very long waits across the country.
“It is an outstanding achievement due to an exceptional and strong focus by DHB staff treating patients who had been waiting longer than six months.
“Because hospitals have done 8,000 more operations than last year, they’ve been able to target that service on those patients waiting over six months.”