Eighteen months ago, Kevin Gibson was driving school bus runs and enjoying a fit and healthy life just ahead of his 80th birthday.
Now, the 81-year-old Gisborne man has "more bad days than good", as he waits for surgery after being diagnosed with an enlarged prostate.
The long wait for surgery was highlighted by his son, Tony Gibson, who wrote to National's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse this month.
Kevin Gibson's case comes to light as National is pressing the Government over health care targets.
Opposition leader Simon Bridges' calculations have indicated that in the nine months to the end of March, DHBs performed elective surgery on 6 per cent fewer patients than would have been treated in the same period in the preceding year, based on data for the whole of 2017/18. That was compounded by the Resident Doctors' Association strike last month.
But the Ministry of Health said the volume of elective services delivered was 2 per cent below the planned number of patients for the nine months to the end of March.
Gibson was initially due to have a transurethral resection of the prostate and a cystoscopy in early 2018, which Tony Gibson said he understood was a relatively simple procedure that takes 60 to 90 minutes.
The operation was cancelled because the surgeon had a heart attack, which the family understood, but for the next 10 months the procedure was "on and off with my father having four pre-op examinations", he wrote.
The operation was again delayed after Kevin Gibson himself suffered a heart attack in September.
In January he was told the operation would take place on April 1, but when his wife called the hospital a week beforehand to ask why no information had been given to them ahead of the procedure she was told, without explanation, the operation had been cancelled.
"Since this date the hospital is saying there is no new date because there is no doctor ... to date Gisborne Hospital is unable to give my family any information as to when or where my father can have his operation."
Family were concerned about the lack of information from the hospital about why the operation was cancelled, and when and where it might eventually happen.
The Tairāwhiti District Health Board declined to comment on the case.
A spokeswoman said the board management did not comment publicly on patients' details.
"We have been in regular contact with Mr Gibson's family regarding his care and will continue to progress putting a suitable plan in place. We regret the length of time this has taken in the circumstances."
Gibson said the long wait had affected his health.
He was on antibiotics "almost permanently" because of constant infections, used a catheter which meant costly visits to the doctor every three weeks to get it replaced — including sometimes having to go to the emergency department in the middle of the night because the catheter had become blocked.
"It's been a pretty bloody miserable [18 months]."