5 Apr 2015

Ministry to collect data on surgery demand

8:02 am on 5 April 2015

The Minister of Health says better information is being gathered to find out what happens to people who are turned down for non-urgent surgery.

Lakes District Health Board says no women have called its helpline number since a privacy breach.

Photo: 123RF

There is growing concern among doctors and specialists about the so-called unmet need for elective, or non-urgent surgery.

That is, patients referred for surgery who fail to make the waiting list and end up back in the care of their GP.

The Ministry's electives manager, Clare Perry, said better information will be collected on what happens to those patients, which will help in the planning of services.

"If we have got what I would call referred unmet demand, and it's an area where commissions wish to provide more services, then they can see both within the DHB and across the country where that need is."

The new Health Minister, Jonathan Coleman, is signalling a bigger focus on sport and childhood obesity over the next three years.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman. Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

The Minister, Jonathan Coleman, said no country in the world had previously measured unmet need.

"The first phase of that is looking at the result of the referral process, so we will have solid data on what happens to each referral.

"And it's important to know that those people who don't meet the threshold for they don't disappear into the ether, they get followed up by their GP."

He said the first results will be available in the middle of next year.

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