Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says DIY surgery tools show innovation

  • 07/09/2017

New Zealand has been hearing some horror stories lately about the state of our district health boards - and their lack of funding.

In the Waikato there have been reports of surgeons forced to use household equipment, including wooden spoons and kitchen sieves, and on Thursday, Northland DHB said they would again post a deficit in the millions.

Three's The Project host Kanoa Lloyd says the problem's been "festering for years" - and someone is going to need to sort it out.

However Health Minister Jonathan Coleman disagrees, and says the Government has been increasing funding every year.

"We're doing more of everything all the time, but the only way to deal with increased demand is to continue to do more. And that's exactly what we're doing," he says.

"Obviously in health we've got population growth, and there's going to be more to do in the future as well, and that's what we're committed to doing."

Doctor Coleman says he hasn't personally used DIY surgery tools during an operation, but he thinks it shows Kiwi ingenuity.

"I was talking to Professor Jim Shaw, Auckland University surgical professor the other day, he was saying for time immemorial surgeons have improvised and gone down to Mitre 10 or wherever, they've got an idea in their mind, and they've gone and custom-built their own equipment," he says.

"There's always been innovation in New Zealand surgery, but all the instruments have always been sterile and safe. And the results are what count."