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Ophthalmology Critically Understaffed in Dunedin Hospital

Ophthalmology Critically Understaffed in Dunedin Hospital

Southern DHB has a severe shortage of staff in their Ophthalmology department, requiring an urgent increase in numbers, including resident doctors.

The number of patient appointments in Dunedin’s Ophthalmology Acute Eye Clinic has increased dramatically over the last decade, yet the number of staff has remained essentially unchanged.

“The workload has tripled over the last 10 years,” says Dr Deborah Powell, “yet over the same time frame the number of resident doctors has not kept up with the demand.”

The department in Dunedin Hospital provides 27,000 clinic appointments every year, being the highest volume outpatient clinic in the region - and demand is only increasing.

“NZRDA understand this issue was brought to the attention of the DHB some time ago, but it appears that this fell on deaf ears. It is only now that it’s come to the attention of external authorities that the DHB are addressing matters,” says Dr Powell echoing ASMS’s concerns over under resourcing and that the clinical voice has, in the words of ASMS, been “snuffed out”.

This follows the news that more than 4600 appointments were pushed back by Southern DHB, causing 30 people to lose their sight during the extra wait - a situation that could have been avoided had the DHB addressed the problem when it was initially found.


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