Cataract Surgery Initiative Running Ahead of Target

The Labour-led government's cataract surgery initiative is running ahead of target with 300 more New Zealanders getting surgery in the first 11 months of the programme than planned, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

Figures released today show that between 1 July 2005 and 31 May 2006 a total of 8307 cataract procedures were performed - 330 more than planned during this period.

This is a great achievement and demonstrates what a difference district health boards can make when they find innovative ways increase elective surgery volumes.

The government's cataract initiative began in July 2005 and over three years an additional $17 million will be pumped into cataract surgery, providing an additional 7500 operations.

As part of the cataract initiative district health boards were asked to develop practical ways of increasing productivity and efficiency.

The cataract initiative will continue until the end of the 2007/08 year with a progressive increase in the number of operations performed each year.

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