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HBDHB postponing most elective surgery

15 September 2004

HBDHB postponing most elective surgery for next few days

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s acting chief operating officer, Alistair Ayto, said due to unprecedented levels of nursing staff off on sick leave, and a continual stream of seriously ill medical inpatients, the decision has been made to postpone all but the most urgent elective surgery for the next few days.

“We will however, continue to provide clinically-essential inpatient surgery and elective day surgery cases,” Alistair Ayto said.

“A combination of staff illness and staff taking time off to care for sick children has compounded the problem of rostering staff at this busy time of year. With the ward areas carrying around 10 nursing vacancies, having up to 8 nurses sick each day is compromising our ability to maintain elective surgery. There are 3 vacancies in theatre, and 2-3 theatre nurses off sick each day is also contributing to the situation. Care associates and other clinical staff are also affected by illness.

“In the interests of patient safety and staff well-being, we have made the decision to postpone all elective surgery for at least the next few days until we see a drop off in the number of acute medical admissions.

“This will help lessen the workload for those staff who are on deck and feeling the pressure of having to cover higher-than-usual case loads and work additional and/or extended shifts to cover for colleagues. Importantly, it will also ensure those patients who are in hospital are well looked after.”

“Anyone who is booked to have elective surgery this week will be contacted to let them know what is happening. Anyone whose surgery is postponed will be rebooked to the next available session.

“Having surgery is a major event for most people, and I understand that it is disappointing and disruptive for people when their operation is delayed, and I apologise in advance to those people whose surgery will be postponed.

“When you are booked for elective surgery at an acute hospital like Hawke’s Bay Hospital, there is always a possibility your operation may be postponed, as emergency surgery and people with life-threatening illnesses will always take priority,” Alistair Ayto said.

Anyone with enquiries about the status of their surgery can phone the surgical booking coordinator on 878 8109 ext. 4523.


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