6 Aug 2009

Elective surgery requests increasingly declined

3:12 pm on 6 August 2009

The Accident Compensation Corporation says it is turning down more and more requests to fund elective surgery.

In the past year, it has turned down 16% of requests to fund elective operations. The figure for the previous year was 10%.

ACC director of clinical services Kevin Morris says the higher figure has nothing to do with the cost of approving elective surgery and could be explained by ACC hiring more staff to review requests.

He says it is possible people who were not entitled to ACC funding for elective surgery have received it in the past.

In the year to July, ACC was asked to fund 56,000 elective surgeries, compared with 40,000 two years ago.

Surgeon blames budgets

Christchurch orthopaedic surgeon Graham Inglis says ACC is not giving New Zealanders good value for money.

Mr Inglis told Morning Report the corporation is trimming the number of operations it approves, to come within budget. He says patients are having to wait too long to find out whether their claims have been approved, and that is unsustainable for the health system.