About those fake elective surgery stats | The Jackal

26 Jul 2017

About those fake elective surgery stats

The National led government has once again been caught misrepresenting statistics in order to make themselves look good… this time on the numbers of people getting elective surgery.

Statistics on elective surgery are Nationals go to when they’re trying to make themselves look good. Now we find out that their claims of huge increases is just more bluff and bluster.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Is the Government misleading Kiwis over its elective surgery target?

Since 2008 the Government has been consistently hitting or exceeding its target of 4000 extra elective surgeries per year, but it's getting there with one surgery - an eye injection.

The overall increase in electives in 2016 was 4119, and the increase in Avastin eye injections was 2565. In the same year, the number of extra orthopaedic surgeries - that's things like hips and knees - was just 284.

Other surgeries decreased, including ear nose and throat surgery, paediatrics and general surgery.

So the number of cheaper surgeries have increased while the more expensive life changing surgeries have likely decreased.

You’ve really got to wonder then where the extra $304 million over the last three years for elective surgery has gone? Eye injections, which aren't really a surgical procedure at all, will be relatively cheap.

The additional funding is despite the Government not fully paying DHBs for all their elective surgery and other procedures to the tune of $160 last year.

Why is there such a failure to properly fund health you might ask? Well the government wants it all privatised of course. Even Jonathan Coleman's own Ministry has assessed that the current government routinely underfunds elective surgery. Despite this fact, National still claim that they're doing more than enough.

Read more about how the current government is being a bunch of tightwads for elective surgery and other health areas in the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions’ Working Paper on Health (PDF).