Today minister Dr Jonathan Coleman stepped in to sort out the mess that the adult cochlear implant funding had become in New Zealand.
The adult cochlear implant funding had been set at 40 implants a year for quite some time. This was grossly inadequate and a large waiting list of over 200 had built up. In addition many adults had either given up and/or paid for an implant themselves.
The Ministry of Health has known of this situation for some years and done nothing to address it. Recently there has been considerable pressure applied to the government to address this unacceptable situation with a 26,000 signature petition.
It now appears that Dr Coleman has stepped in and lifted the annual number of adult implants from 40 to 100. Details are still to be made public but if this is more than just a one off boast then this is a most welcome development.
Updated with BeeHive press release link.
The news reporting talks about a review of the funding model going forward. This too is most welcome and should be extended to reviewing the service provision arrangements as well. Specifically the current trust arrangements and device supplier monopoly should be reviewed in a transparent way so that the cochlear implant community can have confidence in these services that they are highly dependent on.