Bay News column

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My elderly father has been in Tauranga Hospital recently after a bad fall. My family and I are incredibly grateful for the care and level of service he received.

Hard-working nurses, doctors and administrators across the country do an amazing job every day delivering better health outcomes for New Zealanders.

Keeping ourselves and our families healthy is one of the top priorities for any New Zealander. We need to know that if we do become sick or have an accident that there is a reliable public health service available to care for us.

Since taking office in 2008, our priority in the health sector has been to provide better, sooner, more convenient healthcare, because this is what matters. We have achieved fantastic results under the leadership of Tony Ryall and now Jonathan Coleman.

The National Government has invested more than ever before in public health. In the Bay of Plenty alone funding has increased by $127 million since 2008.

We have moved the focus from the back office to the frontline. Since 2008 over 1,300 doctors and 3,000 nurses have entered our health workforce.

In real numbers, this means 9,326 Bay of Plenty patients received elective surgery, compared to 6,940 in 2008. Over the last six years an extra 10,751 Bay of Plenty residents have benefited from elective surgery, compared to the level of surgeries completed under the previous Government.

While called ‘electives’, these are operations like hip and knee replacements, which can significantly improve quality of life and restore freedom and independence to the patient.

Waiting times for radiation or chemotherapy treatment have decreased dramatically and 94 per cent of emergency department patients are now seen within six hours, the highest result since records began.

We are continuing to work hard to improve our health services and the level of care New Zealanders receive.