Med­i­cal spe­cial­ists busier

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON - JIM CHIPP

‘‘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.

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