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Update on Cardiothoracic service

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

13 February 2008 Media Statement

Update on Cardiothoracic service

Capital and Coast DHB have confirmed a plan for managing its regional cardiac surgery service so that it will halve the waiting list by July this year.

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said Capital and Coast DHB had reassured him that it took its duty of care extremely seriously and as a result it had now increased the number of operations to approximately 60 per month.

“Last year Capital and Coast DHB were performing 9 cardiothoracic elective procedures a week. They are now increasing this to approximately 16 per week.”

The DHB is conservatively projecting that the waiting list will be reduced by 50% by July 08 and also that it will reduce those waiting over six months to almost zero by year end.

The DHB’s recovery plan involves running additional theatre sessions on Saturdays; subcontracting cases to Otago DHB; contracting cases out to the private sector and contacting a replacement cardiothoracic surgeon, who starts in just over a month's time.

He said he had asked the DHB and MOH to ensure that any other spare capacity in the health system was used to clear the backlog may be brought forward.

"We do have committed staff working hard for the best of their patients. What we need to do is ensure that the support services, plans and coordination is managed in such a way to allow our doctors, nurses and other health professionals to do their jobs as well as possible.


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