16 Aug 2017

Petition urges government to act over hearing implant backlog

8:06 pm on 16 August 2017

A woman who has been waiting for more than two years for a hearing implant is calling for more government funding to help people like her.

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Danielle Mackay presents her petition at Parliament. Photo: RNZ / Mervin Johnson

Danielle Mackay has been on a waiting list to receive a cochlear implant since December 2015 but said she was removed in June this year because of a lack of funding.

She delivered the petition signed by 26,000 people to Parliament today, urging the government to take action.

"It was very frustrating and upsetting when they kicked me off the list," Ms Mackay said.

She said even though it had been scary losing her hearing, she was blown away by the support.

"It's overwhelming. I have received so much support from people in New Zealand, Australia and America."

YesWeCare.nz, a health funding coalition of community groups, patients and people working in health, was supporting Ms Mackay.

"It's taking longer and longer for people needing cochlear implants," its spokesperson, Sarah Martin, said.

"The average waiting time jumped to 20 months this year, up from 14 to 17 months in 2016."

The petition was delivered to Green MP Mojo Mathers, who is deaf.

YesWeCare.nz wants the government to clear the cochlear implant surgery backlog and give everyone an implant who needs one.

It also wants the health budget topped up by $2.3 billion to reflect the increase in population and inflation, and a national survey to identify the country's unmet health needs.

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