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CMDHB achieves elective surgery targets

CMDHB achieves elective surgery targets

Counties Manukau District Health Board is the first DHB to have achieved the elective (non-urgent) surgery targets set by the Ministry of Health.

The targets, measured by a number of Elective Surgical Performance Indicators (ESPIs), are part of a strategy to provide clarity and timely treatment for patients waiting for public hospital elective surgical services.

General Manager of Surgical and Ambulatory Care, Chris Fleming, says CMDHB has made a real commitment to meeting these targets. “We are extremely encouraged that our efforts over the past three years are now showing results, with a more streamlined waiting system and services that are targeted to those patients most in need”.

“We now have much more manageable numbers of people waiting for treatment – in the three years from June 2003 to the end of June 2006 we have reduced the number of people waiting from 7667 to 2991.

“We are also now in the position of being able to provide a commitment to the vast majority of patients on the waiting list that they will receive surgery within six months. Previously patients were added to the waiting list believing they would receive surgery within a short period of time, but there was no real follow through and some patients would languish for years,” says Mr Fleming.

The average waiting time for patients added to the waiting list has now reduced from just over 5 months to 3.6 months.

Mr Fleming says although the elective indicators (ESPIs) are important, they are only one part of the equation. “CMDHB has undertaken a number of initiatives to increase the level of surgery provided to our population, resulting in an increase of just over 20% compared to the level provided in the year ending 30 June 2004. This is particularly evident in Orthopaedics and Ophthalmology where Counties has worked with the Ministry to pick up additional funding. On top of this CMDHB has:

 Improved the use of primary care for assessment and treatment i.e. the GP Skin Lesion scheme, training GP’s with a special interest in Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat) services to undertake diagnostic services in primary care
 Expanded the number of beds and theatres by transferring some elective services to our Manukau site, meaning patients are less likely to be cancelled or affected by emergency (acute) surgery
 Provided surgery in the private sector when the public sector has been unable to meet demands due to capacity restraints

CMDHB is now in a position to lower the thresholds for some services, such as Cataracts and Orthopaedics including hips and knees. It’s anticipated the thresholds will continue to be reduced over time, as processes are streamlined and funding for elective services is increased.

“The last two years have been challenging due to pressures on staffing, in particular Theatre Nursing and Anaesthetic Technicians, however recruitment successes mean we have can now look at opportunities to further increase the level of elective services provided to our population,” says Mr Fleming.

“We believe the changes made give more clarity to both staff and patients. Staff have a clear picture of patients who are waiting for treatment and in turn, patients have some certainty around whether or not they will get publicly funded treatment within 6 months.

“It is important that patients maintain their relationship with their GP as CMDHB will continue to communicate the reduction of thresholds with primary care. The fact that a patient is not on a waiting list does not mean the patient will not be able to access services, it simply means we are unable to commit to providing surgery within the next 6 months,” says Mr Fleming.


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