National has announced $40 million in funding to reduce
waiting times for cancer treatment and $50 million for more
elective surgery and people with bone, muscle and joint
problems such as arthritis.
Prime Minister John Key made the announcements today on the
eve of Daffodil Day at the Cancer Society's Domain Lodge in
Auckland, a residence for recovering cancer patients.
The $40 million for cancer is to try to ensure that by
mid-2017 at least 90 per cent of patients were getting
treatment within 62 days of their GP first referring them to
a specialist -- up from about 60 per cent now.
The funding is spread out over three years and was allocated
in the Budget but not announced until today.
National has also promised to spend $50 million in new
funding on those with joint, muscle and bone pain and to
increase elective surgery if it is re-elected.
Health Minister Tony Ryall said that plan included $6 million
more for primary care based intervention teams to identify
patients likely to suffer from conditions such as arthritis.
"This approach will enable some patients to be treated early
enough to maintain independence. Others, however, will
require surgery.," About $30 million would be put in to lift
the number of orthopaedic operations in the public health
system -- enough for a further 2250 hip, knee and joint
operations over the next three years.
A further $14 million would go toward delivering an extra
1500 general surgeries, such as for hernia, gallstone and
Mr Ryall said that on top of the usual increases in elective
surgeries, that would mean an extra 14,500 operations a year
Mr Key said the funding would come out of the $1.5 billion in
new spending National has rationed itself to. However, he
would not say how much of that was likely to be spent on