07 March 2016

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) welcomes the release of data on unmet need for elective surgery, and looks forward to the Government taking the next steps—analysing the data and developing a transparent, consistent and equitable selection system.

"In 2014 we asked the Government to put numbers around the unmet need," says NZMA Chair Dr Stephen Child. "We are pleased that this is now being done. What is needed now is the analysis that will help ensure consistency of clinical decision making.

"As we noted in 2014, there is no certainty that the 'right' patients are always seen and treated in the appropriate order. While the volume of elective surgery has increased and those who do get surgery do so more quickly, we still need a system that can demonstrate national consistency and equitable outcomes. 

"Where a need can be shown, it should not matter where in the country a patient is. If they meet the guidelines, their need should be met."