4 Dec 2013

Health officials grilled over surgery waiting times

1:08 pm on 4 December 2013

Health officials faced intense questioning at Parliament on Wednesday morning about access to elective or non-urgent surgery.

The questions came from Labour and Green MPs on Parliament's Health Select Committee.

Labour Party health spokesperson Annette King demanded answers from Ministry of Health officials about un-met need for elective surgery and whether it's being measured or recorded.

She asked repeatedly whether figures are kept about how many patients meet a clinical threshold for surgery, but don't receive it because it can't be delivered within the required timeframe.

Ministry electives manager Claire Perry conceded the figure is not kept now, but said it will be from next year.

She also said access to elective surgery has improved markedly in recent years with only twenty patients now waiting longer than six months compared with 30,000 in 2004.