Last month we wrote to the Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, requesting a meeting. The 2ears2hear team had been requesting meetings with Ministry of Health officials to put forward the case for funding bilateral Cochlear Implants for children.
The case is simple and compelling. Its better, cheaper and safer for the government to fund bilateral Cochlear Implants. We have proposed an approach which would cost the government around $1m per annum. We are close to publishing an article which shows that a decision to fund bilateral Cochlear Implants will actually save the government close to $400,000 per child over all government departments.
We have now been invited to meet with the Ministry officials next month. This is a positive step and we welcome this.
However Minister Ryall has chosen not to meet us.
Our Irish friends at the Happy New Ear campaign will recognise this behaviour. Their Minister has also chosen this same ignoring strategy. However finally public pressure has ‘encouraged’ a recent change in heart. New Zealand continues to trail our Irish friends.
The 2ears2hear team feel this meme is quite apt in this case…
While Ministry officials and politicians such as Minister Ryall might be happy to delay, as parents we can not accept this. Every couple of weeks means another child will unnecessarily be put through an additional surgery by this delaying. With every day that passes the benefit of getting a second Cochlear Implant to those children with only one reduces. Its another day of struggle for these single Cochlear Implant children in their noisy classrooms. Its another day of lost opportunities for these children to reach their full potential.
While Minister Ryall might be happy to wait and sacrifice the hopes and dreams of these children and families, we say these children can’t wait.
Minister Ryall… your 2013/14 Health budget is almost 15,000 million dollars. Surely you can find one … just one million dollars to ensure these children reach their full potential? That’s 0.007% – loose change.