Using Kiwisaver for health or surgery – good news for weight loss surgery

According to the Inland Revenue, people contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme may be eligible for a one-off withdrawal to cover the costs of a health related surgery.  This withdrawal may be some or all of the funds, and you may continue to keep the fund open and contribute.

In order to be entitled to this withdrawal, according to the KiwiSaver Act 2006, you may access the funds because of:

  • an illness, injury or disability that permanently affects your ability to work or poses a risk of death
  • a life-shortening congenital condition that lowers your life expectancy below the age of eligibility for New Zealand superannuation (currently 65).

In order to start this process, the first step is to check with your provider how much money you are entitled to. Eligible members can withdraw all or some of the funds in a one-off withdrawal.

For example, some obesity related health concerns can be defined as either illness or disability and for people seeking weight loss surgery this is good news. Some weight related issues can prevent people from being able to work in their chosen occupation – which is a concern.  A GP or medical professional (for example Bariatric Surgeon) will need to determine and then certify that you do meet this clause, from here the application is made and the Kiwisaver scheme fund manager will make a decision based on the advice they receive. This does sound like quite a process, but for our weight loss patients it has meant they have been able to achieve surgery.

A life-shortening congenital condition is something that you’ve had since birth and the condition is likely to reduce your life expectancy. Some of these include Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Huntington’s Disease, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. You may also have medical evidence to verify a congenital condition that is expected to reduce your life expectancy – please see your GP for advice around this.

In order to do this you will need to complete a withdrawal request (including a statutory declaration) and provide all of the relevant medical practitioner’s (Surgeon or GP) declaration stating your eligibility. It is important to consider how this withdrawal will impact your retirement savings and it might not suit everyone financially. If you think you need advice around this, it is good to speak to an independent financial advisor around retirement saving.

Upon your request, Ormiston Hospital is able to provide a letter detailing the cost of surgery for your provider.

KiwiSaver is a scheme available to all New Zealand citizens and people entitled to be in New Zealand indefinitely and who are under the age of 65. You will need to be living in New Zealand to qualify for this scheme that helps set you up for retirement. It is voluntary but it has proven to be an excellent way to help kiwis financially in their retirement.

Female checking kilogrammes getting on the scale – self care and body positivity concept – warm flare on left


Advanced Appearance Medicine Experts

A team of New Zealand’s leading plastic and cosmetic surgeons work out of Ormiston Hospital. These surgeons work on all types of cases, from complicated reconstruction to a simple skin lesion removal.  The skilled and experienced team use the most advanced treatments here in our state-of-the-art hospital, bringing you plastic surgery closer to home.

plastic surgery at Ormiston

Plastic surgery has fast become a popular option – not limited to celebrities. Anyone can get plastic surgery, and you don’t need a doctor’s referral. There are a vast range of options available. From browlifts, to lipsuction, to breast augmentation Ormiston Hospital provides patients with access to specialist surgeons providing all options within appearance medicine. Not only can surgery enhance a person’s visual appearance it has also transformed lives. Appearance medicine is more than just a “nip tuck” it can enhance overall wellness, and self confidence.

Depending on what you need, some procedures can be performed easily in under an hour. While there are more complicated surgeries like hand surgeries that can involve a longer surgery and recovery time. If you are considering plastic surgery, or know you require plastic surgery, all you need to do is book a consultation to learn more about what is involved. It is worth looking into, even if it might feel extravagant at times, men and women alike should feel comfortable with their appearance. How we look makes up a lot of how we feel and who we are.

Ormiston Specialist Centre and Ormiston Hospital offer a luxury private healthcare experience for anyone looking at plastic surgery. When you book a consultation with Ormiston you are getting the best, and you expect the best when it comes to your health.

We have made a useful guide below of all our specialists who are available to help you:

Guide to Appearance Medicine at Ormiston Hospital

Our Specialist Plastic Surgeons: Alessandra Canal, Ashwin Chunilal, Stanley Loo, Amber Moazzam, Bruce Peat, and Meredith Simcock

Otoplasty (ear correction): in this surgery the ears can be pinned back or altered to reflect the patients requirements.

Eyelid Surgery & Asian blepharoplasty: surgery can be used to enhance the look of the eye or improve the eyelid function.

Nose Surgery, Rhinoplasty: “nose job” surgery can help both with the aesthetics and functionality of the nose.

Browlift & Rhytidecotmy (full face lift): enhance the face by refreshing the look of any sagging or aging skin.

Abdominaplasty (tummy tuck): where there is excess skin or fat in the stomach this can be removed through surgery.

Liposuction: removal of fat tissue in areas of concern.

Breast Augmentation: enhance the look of breasts and address any breast issues or concerns.  breast implants

Weight Loss Surgery: offering both the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries for enhanced weight loss.

If you have any other concerns that you think could be addressed with plastic surgery please do not hesitate to reach out to us and ask about booking in with one of our experts.

Call Ormiston Specialist Centre to make a consultation booking:  (09) 271 3305

Obesity and sleep apnoea – a worrying combination.

Sleep Apnoea or Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Sleep apnoea can occur at any age and doesn’t just affect overweight people. But being overweight carries a high risk factor for the development of sleep apnoea. This is when breathing repeatedly stops for several seconds during sleep. It is seen in many overweight and obese people as result of additional soft fatty tissue around the face and neck – as airways can become blocked and breathing restricted. This then leads to a reduction in oxygen in the blood a serious issue.

Signs of sleep apnoea:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up tired (not refreshed)
  • Day-time sleepiness
  • Altered mood (often grumpy)
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss

The best way to test for sleep apnoea is to have someone (ideally a partner/spouse) let you know what your sleep habits are like – loud snoring is often the first sign.

sleep apnoea

When in a deep sleep the muscles of the throat often relax, which is not usually a problem. However, in sleep apnoea the muscles at the back of the throat become so relaxed during sleep that the airway or part of it becomes closed off. A person with sleep apnoea will continue to try to breathe – but no air will enter the lungs and the level of oxygen in the blood drops (hypoxia). This eventually leads to semi-wakening and breathing resumes, usually accompanied by a loud snort or gasp.

The person affected is often unaware that they have woken and immediately returns to sleep. Once asleep the muscles relax again and the whole cycle recurs. This cycle can occur hundreds of times during sleep which, like insomnia, reduces the quality and benefits of a good night’s sleep.  Loud, bothersome snoring will also occur.

The risk of sleep apnoea is higher if a person is overweight.  Excess weight on the outside of the throat increases pressure on the inside of the throat, which in turn narrows the airway. Ormiston Weight Loss Services sees many patients who suffer from sleep apnoea but are cured following weight loss after surgery.

Other risk factors include:

  • Alcohol, tranquillisers or sleeping tablets are being used
  • An existing condition that may block the airway eg: enlarged tonsils or jaw deformities
  • Nasal obstruction

There are a number of signs and symptoms that may indicate that OSA is occurring. Often, the first indication is complaints about noisy snoring.

How do I know if I or someone I love has sleep apnoea?

As there can be many reasons for disturbed sleep or daytime sleepiness diagnoses can be difficult. If sleep apnoea is suspected, referral to a respiratory physician and/or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) may be required.

A doctor will first take a detailed history of the problem and will examine the throat for signs of narrowing. It may often be helpful for a support person to be there at this appointment to explain what happens with the sufferers sleep cycles.

Tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

How is it treated?

OSA needs to be managed firstly through lifestyle changes, often in combination with other treatments. The biggest change is in weight loss, even a small amount can improve symptoms. Ormiston Weight Loss Service regularly sees overweight patients who complain of sleep apnoea and have their symptoms disappear following surgery and weight loss.

There are other measures that can be taken such as; avoiding alcohol, sleeping tablets, changing sleeping behaviours, quitting smoking and performing regular exercise.

If you or someone you know is overweight and struggling with sleep weight loss surgery could help their condition and help them get back to getting a full nights sleep. Sleep apnoea is a serious condition and can lead to further health problems such as hypertention, heart disease, stroke, and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Sufferer must speak to their GP about their concerns.