10 Oct 2008

National pledges 20 new elective theatres

5:43 pm on 10 October 2008

[bs] The National Party says it would build 20 new dedicated elective theatres, in an attempt to shorten hospital waiting lists.

Leader John Key says the cost is estimated at $180 million over five years.

He says some of the new theatres would be stand alone, and some would be built within existing hospitals.

As yet the operational costs have not been provided by National, but Mr Key says the cost of building them - $36 million over five years - would come from existing health funding.

"Some of it's obviously chewed up and already called on in terms of pay increases and the likes, but there is a spare portion there, and we're simply saying from our point of view that again, no great surprise from National, our focus is on those frontline services."

When asked if this spending would see cuts to other health services, Mr Key said there was still room within the health funding laid out by the current Government to cover the cost of the 20 theatres.