Election 2014

17 Oct 2008

Ministry says it got surgery figures wrong

11:28 am on 17 October 2008

The Ministry of Health is apologising for a mistake in figures released by the Government claiming a sizeable increase in elective, or non-urgent, surgery in the past year.

The National Party has been on the attack over the figures, which are now being clarified.

The Government said in 2006 it was putting an extra $60 million a year into elective, or non-urgent, surgery, to provide an extra 10,000 procedures a year.

On Sunday 14 October, Labour's health spokesperson David Cunliffe announced an 8.7% increase in elective surgery discharges, with almost 12,000 more procedures done in the past year.

National's health spokesperson Tony Ryall says that is not correct because the increase spans two years, as well as including outpatient procedures such as dentistry which are not normally counted.

Mr Ryall says there has been a boost, but it is not keeping pace, and the Ministry is "grooming" the figures.

Ministry elective services manager Karen Osbourne says there were almost 12,000 extra procedures done in the 2007-08 year but it compares with the level two years ago, with some adjustments.

Ms Osbourne says rates of non-urgent surgery are increasing.

She says some procedures, such as endoscopy, were included but will not be next time.