Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says $6.5 million will be invested into the adult cochlear implants programme to increase access.
“For those with profound hearing loss cochlear implants can be a life changing procedure,” says Dr Coleman.
“Access to funded cochlear implants have increased significantly under this Government. In 2014 we expanded the children’s programme so our under 18s could receive bilateral implants, with no waiting list.
“In 2013 we also increased the number of funded cochlear implants for adults from 20 to 40 a year. However, we want even more adults to benefit.
“That’s why we’re investing an extra $6.5 million into the adult programme for 2017/2018. This will increase the Cochlear Implant Programme's total funding to $14.93 million.
“The total number of funded cochlear implants for adults will go from 40 to 100 for 2017/2018, an increase of 150 per cent.
“The investment will also increase the capacity within the system and cover the additional audiology and rehabilitation time required to support such a massive uplift.
“I have also asked officials for advice around how we can better structure the funding model for this important service going forward.”
The extra $6.5 million will come from reprioritisation within Vote Health.
Notes to Editors
Around 86 New Zealanders receive funded cochlear implants each year. Up to 16 are infants, 30 are children aged 2-18 years and 40 are adults.
There are currently around 224 adults on the waiting list for a funded cochlear implant.
A cochlear implant costs about $45,000 for surgery, implant and switch-on.
The processors need to be replaced about every six to seven years, which costs about $10,000 each time.