Medical specialists busier
‘‘The improvement was a credit to a dedicated workforce, supported by $400m more in last year’s health budget.’’
More patients in the Wellington region than ever before got initial specialist appointments last year.
Capital & Coast District Health Board specialists saw a record 32,022 patients for first assessment appointments last year, up from 25,707 in 2009.
First specialist assessments are either with surgeons, such as orthopaedics, general surgery or ophthalmology, or with physicians for conditions not needing surgery, such as cardiology, respiratory, diabetes.
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman said the trend was heading in the right direction, although there was still work to do.
The improvement was a credit to a dedicated workforce, supported by $400 million more in last year’s health budget.
That included $14 million in new money for the Capital & Coast board, taking its total annual funding to $760 million, he said.
Capital & Coast District Health Board chief operating officer Chris Lowry said the increase was because of a real increase in services.
‘‘It’s part of an overall increase in acute demand,’’ she said.
There were 8969 elective surgeries carried out last year, up from 8734 the previous year.
During the past five years, Capital & Coast District Health Board has reduced the maximum waiting time for first specialist assessments from six months to four months.