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Sat, 26 Aug 2017
NCIT SHCT Press Release
25 August 2017
Cochlear implant trusts welcome additional funding from Ministry of Health
The Northern Cochlear Implant Trust and Southern Hearing Charitable Trust which manage New Zealand's two cochlear implant programmes have welcomed the major additional funding announced by the Minister of Health for cochlear implants for severely hearing disabled adults. Cochlear implant funding has been increased over the past 10 years but increases have not kept up with growth in the waiting lists. The government has announced $6.5m of additional funding for cochlear implants for adults in the current financial year, the largest single boost to funding of cochlear implant services in the history of New Zealand's cochlear implant programmes.
Severe deafness is a devastating communication disability which cuts people off from their loved ones and from the ability to easily interact in society. In many cases people affected are unable to continue in employment. Cochlear implants are implanted electronic devices which bypass the damaged parts of the inner ear and markedly improve the ability to hear.
David Kent, Chair of the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme, and a cochlear implant user himself, says
"Cochlear implants are life changing. The increase in funding will dramatically reduce the adult waiting lists for cochlear implants and transform the lives of many more adults with this serious disability."
Lyn Polwart, Chairperson of the New Zealand Cochlear Implant Consumer Group, is overjoyed at the announcement.
"I am just so relieved that our voices have been heard, and that the Ministry of Health has responded in such a positive way. This decision will change the lives of many, setting them free from the prison of their disability."
Dr Bill Keith, Chair of the Northern Cochlear Implant Programme, said that the Trusts gratefully acknowledge the ongoing support for the cochlear implant programmes from the Ministry of Health. He said that the Ministry has steadily increased funding over the past ten years, and started planning this initiative in 2016.
"Collaboration between the Ministry, cochlear implant service providers, consumer groups and the Pindrop Foundation has made this possible. We welcome the challenge of increasing our resource capability to bring the gift of hearing to many more of our clients, and we look forward to working with our Ministry colleagues on the funding model to ensure continued investment to deliver increased adult cochlear implants on a continuing basis."
For further Information contact: Dr Bill Keith | Chair| NCIT | 021 460 021