Election 2014

10 Nov 2011

Less waiting time for surgery, National pledges

7:10 pm on 10 November 2011

The National Party is promising to shorten waiting times for elective surgery to a maximum of four months, if it leads the next Government

The party says health boards now provide over 90% of surgery within six months, but National wants to reduce that in the next three years.

National says all patients booked for surgery would get operations within five months by mid-2013 and four months by the end of 2014.

Party leader John Key said the change would mean about 4000 more elective surgical operations are carried out.

"As part of the way of achieving that, we'll be building out and increasing the health workforce and that'll be a further extension of our very successful voluntary bonding programme."

He said the bonding programme would be expanded to include medical radiation therapists and medical physicists who are needed to provide cancer treatments.

Mr Key said an extra $12 million would be allocated from the Budget for operations, but health boards would also have to contribute and make further efficiencies.

The party's health spokesperson, Tony Ryall, told Checkpoint he believes cutting waiting times for elective surgery is achievable without culling people from waiting lists.

He said a steady growth in the amount of elective surgery being done can see the waiting times cut and that 27,000 more operations are being done this year than before National came to office.