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Elective surgery needed by 280,000: study

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/04/2016

The number of New Zealanders waiting for elective surgery is staying stubbornly high despite an increase in funding.

About 110,000 Kiwis are on official waiting lists and a further 170,000 are not on a list but have been told they require elective surgery, according to market research company TNS New Zealand.

The numbers are about the same as a similar 2013 study but higher than official figures, says the Health Funds Association which commissioned the research.

Chief executive Roger Styles said official figures did not count people who needed surgery but had not been referred by their GP.

Overall waiting times were up by 80 days to an average 304 days, with almost all of those waiting for public surgery, he said,

There was no "silver bullet" to solving the growing surgical need but spending more public money was not the answer, he said.

"We need to be thinking smarter about how we use both public and private resources to get the best healthcare outcomes."

HFANZ is the industry body representing health insurers.

KIWIS WAITING FOR ELECTIVE SURGERY

* 110,000 Kiwis on official waiting lists

* About 174,000 Kiwis need elective surgery but are not on a waiting list

* 18 per cent of those waiting are in severe discomfort

* Average time to surgery from first GP visit: Private 76 days; Public 177 days

* 52 per cent of Kiwis think the public waiting list will be longer in 10 years

Source: TNS New Zealand

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