Funding to boost elective surgery

Last updated 05:00 01/02/2014

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South Canterbury's surgery backlog will get a reprieve thanks to a $10 million nationwide investment by the Government in elective surgeries.

That investment means an extra 80 South Canterbury residents will receive elective surgery in the next five months.

To do that, the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) will receive more than $450,000, which will be used for ophthalmology and general surgery.

SCDHB chief executive Nigel Trainor said a new general surgeon, recently appointed by the DHB, would help ensure the target of an extra 80 elective surgeries was met.

The SCDHB now has five general surgeons. It will also increase its team of anaesthetists by two later in the year, which will bring its total to 10.

Mr Trainor is confident the target of 80 extra elective surgeries will be met.

If it does not, the DHB would only be funded for the surgeries it does carry out.

"We will be able to do that workload," he said.

"As always, it's good news - it's another 80 people getting a procedure."

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Government's latest investment would benefit 1800 patients nationwide.

The number of South Canterbury residents receiving elective surgery has increased from 2596 in 2007/2008 to 2790 last year.

"This has been a huge increase of 194 people - but we want even more South Cantabrians to benefit from surgery," Mr Ryall said.

"Elective surgery makes a real difference to patients and their families. It reduces pain, increases independence and improves their quality of life."

Mr Ryall said the country's public hospitals had been assessed to determine areas needing improvement. He said one of those areas included the need for extra funding so more people could get the surgery they required.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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