NZ's only surgical bus service helping rural patients extended for another year while long-term plan developed

The country's only surgical bus, servicing rural New Zealand, has had its funding extended for another year while it works on a long-term plan.

Mobile Health's bus has provided surgery to almost 23,000 rural patients over the past 17 years. Source: 1 NEWS

Mobile Health has provided vital day surgery to almost 23,000 patients for the past 17 years.

The Ministry of Health has approved $4 million in funding for the surgical bus and a further $1.7 million to provide medical education and training to staff in 40 towns around the country.

"Over the last 17 years the surgical bus has proven itself safe and cost-effective, with over 22,800 patients on elective surgery waiting lists being treated in rural areas," says Mobile Health chief executive Mark Eager. 

"We look forward to working with the ministry over the next 12 months to develop plans which will shape the services we offer for the next five to ten years."

The type of surgery depends on the demands in each district. Lately both paediatric dental work and colonoscopies have been a key part of the team's work.