Free Under Sixes Secure

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today he was seeking ways to fund non-urgent operations for people who needed them and should get from the public health service.

"I am concerned about the people who could miss out on their hip replacements, cardiac surgery or cataract operations, when their doctors tell us these people definitely need the operation," Mr English said.

"These people should be able to expect their operations from the public health service. It is my job to find the money and that is what I have asked the Transitional Health Authority to report on.

"The THA estimates there is about 18,000 people who doctors assess as needing surgery and yet current funding will not cover. I am not prepared to have those 18,000 people miss out on the services they need until we have looked at all our options.

"Neil Kirton and others appear ready to jump in with speculation about where the money could come from just to spark a political argument.

"I have to concentrate on the public health services and its patients and getting the best deal I can for them," Mr English said.

I will be considering funding options in the next few weeks. But the fact is the free doctors visits for under six year old children is not up for grabs," Mr English said.