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First Operations For Mobile Surgical Theatre

First Operations For Mobile Surgical Theatre This Week

The first operations in New Zealand's new mobile surgical unit are taking place this week, says the Ministry of Health.

Commissioning surgery for the new mobile operating theatre took place in Wanganui yesterday, Clinical Services Strategy Manager Dr Andrew Holmes said.

Nine patients from the Whanganui District Health Board region will have operations in the mobile operating theatre at Wanganui Hospital yesterday and today.

"This is a very positive step for rural people, many of whom have previously had to travel long distances for surgery."

The Wanganui commissioning surgery is the first to take place in the unit and will test its onboard systems. The first scheduled rural day case surgery will take place at Te Whare Hauora O Ngati Porou, a rural hospital in Te Puia Springs, 100km north of Gisborne, on Friday March 8.

It is 12 years since surgery was last performed at Te Puia Springs and since then patients have travelled to Gisborne. Five patients from within the East Coast region will have their operations in the mobile operating theatre at Te Whare Hauora o Ngati Porou on Friday.

Ngati Porou Hauora has invited the whole Te Puia community to help them welcome the unit into Te Whare Hauora o Ngati Porou with a powhiri and blessing. This is being held on Thursday March 7 at 11am when the unit arrives. The mobile theatre will then be prepared for the next day's operations.

The unit will visit hospitals throughout the country on regular five weekly cycles.

The 20 metre-long unit weighs 34 tonnes and is 2.5 metres wide. The mobile operating theatre will cater for up to 300 different low risk elective day surgical operations.

"The mobile operating theatre is a bold innovation from which we expect to learn a great deal about how to better deliver state-of-the-art services," Dr Holmes said.

While it carries specialist staff, nurses from the local hospital and surgeons and anaesthetists from the nearest regional hospital will be invited to perform the operations. Existing hospital facilities are used for recovery.

The mobile theatre is managed by Mobile Surgical Services, which has a five-year contract with the Ministry of Health for its use.

The mobile theatre is equipped to perform a range of day surgery.

Six South Island and seven North Island hospitals with secondary facilities will host the mobile surgery bus. The North Island centres are Dargaville, Kawakawa, Wairoa, Hawera, Taumarunui, Rawene and Te Puia, and in the South Island the bus will visit Balclutha, Buller, Clyde, Gore, Oamaru and Queenstown.


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