National needs to clear the backlog of people waiting for cochlear implants and fund the programme properly, the Green Party said today.
A story last night revealed that more than 200 people are waiting for this crucial surgery and highlighted the plight of Levin-based surf lifesaver Danielle, who may completely lose her hearing without an urgent implant.
“Everyone who needs a cochlear implant should be funded to receive one; it’s just that simple,” said Green Party disability issues spokesperson Mojo Mathers.
“Cochlear implants have massive health and social benefits. People like Danielle want to be able to keep doing the things they love, find meaningful work and stay in touch with friends and loved ones.
“The Government needs to clear the backlog, which includes many people who have been waiting for more than two years, and increase the funding pool overall.
“Stories like Danielle’s show just how crucial it is that everyone who has been assessed as needing a cochlear implant gets one.
“It’s unacceptable that someone who will soon lose all their hearing has been waiting for so long with no end in sight.
“If Danielle loses her remaining hearing before the Government steps up, there will be profound consequences in her day to day life.
“Paying for private surgery costs around $90,000, which is completely out of reach for most New Zealanders.
“The Government needs to step up and fund the cochlear implant programme properly today – New Zealanders losing their hearing shouldn’t have to wait years in the hope of getting one,” said Ms Mathers.