Cautious optimism toward Labour’s pledge to increase cochlear implant funding 

Today’s announcement by the Labour Party that, if elected next month, it would increase cochlear implant funding has been met with cautious optimism by New Zealand’s two providers of cochlear implant services. 

Lee Schoushkoff, Chief Executive of the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme (NCIP), said any proposal to sustainably increase funding to meet the growing need for these life-changing devices was welcome, whichever party becomes the government.
“The technology is readily available, but the Government has currently put it in a glass cage, which is opened only for a select few,” says Lee.
“Cochlear implants are not covered by health insurance - either you are one of the 20 percent lucky enough to be funded, or you pay $50,000 to have the procedure privately.”
Both programmes claim the situation has now reached crisis point.

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Advocacy in action

The government's announcement today shows that a continued collaborative approach to advocacy, bringing together patient groups, health professionals, organisations and funders helps to effect change.  On our next webinar, cochlear implant user and advocate, Dr Lewis Williams PhD will be discussing the importance of advocacy and what her own experiences of severe hearing loss have taught her.

In addition, Lewis will discuss the paper she had published in the New Zealand medical journal last year, entitled 'Untreated severe-to-profound hearing loss and the cochlear implant situation: how policy and practice are disabling New Zealand society.'
To register, click here: