The Tom Oakura Column - More elective surgery improving people’s lives in Taranaki
New Zealanders across the Taranaki region are getting the surgery they need to live longer and more active lives. Increasing the number of elective surgeries being carried out is a priority for National, and more operations are now being performed each year.
Last year 5,293 people in Taranaki received elective surgery, compared to 3,759 in 2007/2008. That’s a 41 per cent increase, a result which is a credit to the hardworking health region’s professionals.
The number of New Zealanders receiving elective surgery across the country has increased by 42 per cent in the last seven years, from 117,954 in 2007/08 to 167,188 in 2014/15. That’s around 50,000 more surgeries being performed than when National came into Government.
In May we announced $98 million from Budget 2015 to boost elective surgery and improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions. This funding is helping deliver an average extra 4,000 elective operations per year over the next four years, meaning New Zealanders can live longer, healthier lives, free of pain.
The health budget has grown to a record $15.9 billion this year, including over $300 million for district health boards to help meet demand from population growth and provide extra services for New Zealanders. Taranaki District Health Board’s funding has increased by $65 million over the last seven years. That funding increase is part of the $400 million invested into health this year in Budget 2015.
We are funding areas which make a real difference to Kiwi families. All children under 13 are now eligible to receive free doctor’s visits as part of the Government’s $90 million investment to extend free doctor’s visits to 700,000 children. So far 97 percent of general practices with enrolled children aged 6-12 have opted in to this scheme, with 99 per cent of children under 13 receiving free healthcare.
Labour oversaw a wasteful, inefficient health system, with bloated back offices and poor investment which did not deliver the services New Zealanders needed. Thankfully those days are over, as National’s record investment in the health sector is delivering better public health services for New Zealanders.