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A solution for Kiwis waiting for surgery

A solution for Kiwis waiting for surgery

Many thousands of Kiwis could have surgery without delay if DHBs made more use of private hospitals.

“No matter what the Ministry of Health says, there is a significant unmet demand for surgery in New Zealand and private surgical hospitals around the country are well placed to meet it,” the president of the Private Surgical Hospitals Association, Ian England, said today.

Dr England’s comments came after it was revealed there is a major shortage of intensive care beds at Dunedin Hospital and that surgeons there are allowed only two operating days a month.

“Dunedin is not the only hospital with this problem. Most DHBs will be under similar capacity shortage pressures.”

He said figures show more than 350,000 New Zealanders 18 years and over have some form of elective surgery each year.

An additional 280,000 have been told they need some form of elective surgery but only 110,000 of those are on waiting lists.

Waiting times for surgery can be between 80 and 304 days.

"Government has two choices. Either build more theatres and bed capacity at huge taxpayer expense, or use existing facilities in the private sector at a much reduced cost.”

Dr England said private sector hospitals already perform half of all elective surgery in New Zealand and could handle up to another 200,000 additional procedures a year.

“The scope is there to provide Kiwis with the surgery they need, when they need it, if government would use the capacity that exists in the private sector,” Dr England said.

“Call it a public, private partnership, but we have the capacity to perform the additional volumes of surgery the Minister of Health is undertaking to deliver.

“The NZPSHA is happy to work with the Ministry and the DHBs to address the current shortfalls in care capacity.”


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