Fewer Kiwis getting elective surgeries

David Clark didn't explain the drop when asked. Photo credit: Getty

National claims more Kiwis are missing out on health care, saying the number of elective surgeries has decreased by almost 6000 in the year to June.

Leader Simon Bridges said on Sunday it's the first annual drop in a decade.

"Every year National was in Government, the numbers of people getting the surgeries they needed increased. Throughout our time in Government the number of elective surgeries carried out increased by 55,000."

Elective surgeries are non-urgent procedures that can be scheduled ahead of time.

Bridges blamed the present Government's dropping of the targets National set itself when in office.

"In the year to June, 18 out of the 20 DHBs saw a decrease in the number of elective surgeries. It’s a complete failure to deliver."

There were 143,700 elective surgeries in 2018/19, Ministry of Health data shows, compared to 149,500 in the 12 months previous.

Health Minister David Clark told NZME other procedures were up - such as minor surgeries - and overall there had been an increase in discharges from hospitals, topping 1 million for the first time in 2018/19.

He didn't explain why elective surgeries were down. Earlier this year, when preliminary figures suggested fewer were being carried out, he said it was because more operations were being carried out outside of surgical environments, but admitted strikes were also impacting numbers.