More hips and knees are being operated on in Hawke's Bay.

There has been a 20 per cent increase, or 51 more, hip and knee surgeries than last year.

From July 2015 to March this year, 3969 people have been discharged following acute and elective surgery.

District health board chief executive Kevin Snee said at least 390 more elective operations were planned compared with the 2013/14 year.


The DHB was on target to do that, hitting just over 102 per cent, year-to-date, of its planned operations for the year, Dr Snee said.

This year the plan is for 5450 elective operations, compared with 5057 in 2013/14.

Last week, Labour's health spokeswoman Annette King said Hawke's Bay was one of four health boards, including Auckland, Southern and Taranaki, that were really struggling to meet targets for hip and knee operations. Overall eight DHBs had done 2000 fewer surgeries since 2011, Mrs King said. Hawke's Bay had done 164 fewer than planned since 2011.

"The Government can go on saying they are doing more cataract and joint operations but the truth is that they are not keeping pace with demographics as the baby boomers reach retirement age," Mrs King said.

The district health board had worked hard to improve the number of hip and knee operations it had done, Dr Snee said.

Elective operations were closely monitored and reported back each week to the executive management team. "They are closely tracked and compared to the plan for the year," he said.

There were many variables in meeting elective targets, especially when there were spikes in people acutely unwell presenting to hospital and needing surgery immediately.

Sometimes the spikes in acutely unwell patients meant those booked for elective surgery had to have it postponed.

The number of cataract operations performed in Hawke's Bay in the past four years have surpassed expectations each year, the Ministry of Health's Standard Intervention Rates reveal. At the end of the 2015 financial year, 919 cataract procedures had been performed, well up on the 614 expected to take place.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has said that district health boards had exceeded his targets for increasing the number of elective surgeries.

The Budget last May committed $98 million over several years to provide more elective surgery and improve the prevention and treatment of orthopaedic conditions.

In a speech last month, Dr Coleman said the number of patients nationally receiving elective surgery had increased from about 118,000 in 2007/08 to 167,000 in 2014/15 - a 42 per cent increase.