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West Coast Exceeds Surgery Targets

17 August 2011

West Coast Exceeds Surgery Targets

More West Coasters than ever had surgery performed at the DHB during the last financial year.

This one of the key results that has become apparent and the figures from the 2010/11 financial year are processed.

The West Coast DHB carried out 111 more elective procedures than the Government’s Improved access to elective surgery target last financial year. In addition to the elective surgery there was also an increase of over 20% in the number of acute operations performed.

“The ability to access surgery on the West Coast can make a real difference and these numbers certainly reinforce the great service that Coasters enjoy”, said DHB Chief Executive David Meates.

“Many more people are able to enjoy an improved quality of life and return to full employment as they have elective procedures such as hip and knee surgery and hernia repairs carried out. The efforts of staff throughout the West Coast health system who enabled the high numbers of surgical cases to be achieved is really appreciated.”

Some concern was noted in an increase in the number of outpatient clinic cancellations over the past nine months.

Sick and bereavement leave along with Pike River and the Christchurch earthquakes resulted in the unplanned cancellation of a number of clinics. Given the small number of specialist staff on the West Coast we will always have problems arising from unexpected leave impacting on patients.

A newly implemented medical staff roster programme will allow much better planning of training and annual leave and is expected to reduce the number of future cancellations.

The issue of outpatient clinics is further exacerbated when the numbers of patients who do not attend specialist appointments is factored in. In the past year almost 10% of patients failed to attend their appointments.

The end result of this is that an extra 2000 people could potentially have received those appointments. Having specialists sitting and waiting for patients who fail to turn up is frustrating, particularly when they know of others who would readily use that appointment time.

Patients are reminded to read their outpatient letters carefully, ensuring that they confirm their availability for the appointment by phone and urgently contacting the DHB if they find that they are unable to make

ENDS

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