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Insourcing is public health service’s answer

Insourcing is public health service’s answer, not outsourcing

Despite Canterbury District Health Board’s (CDHB) the unavoidable increase in outsourcing surgery to private providers, a medical expert says there is a more economical option.

Managing director of SEQURE Health Vinod Govind believes weekend clinics are a tactic that all DHBs should employ to ensure timely care.

A series of weekend clinics during the past two months has dealt with the highest risk south Auckland patients suffering from eye conditions, and has managed to see more than 500 patients at Counties Manukau DHB.

Multiplying those clinics will reinforce efforts to tackle increasing workloads and facility wastage in public hospitals, and greatly boost the number of patients a DHB is treating, Mr Govind says.

In this particular case, insourcing staff to absorb increased demand could help CDHB fully utilise unused existing capacity, expand day-time specialist outpatient clinics, and operate overnight throughout weekdays and weekends in order to clear backlogs.

“We’re already doing this with the Southern District Health Board, bringing in eye specialists from around New Zealand to Dunedin to tackle a backlog of 1,500 patients with ‘significantly overdue’ appointments between March to mid-June.

“Outsourcing means paying for the facilities as well as the medical expertise, but if you cut one of those you’re providing top quality patient care at a fraction of the cost.”

Mr Govind says CDHB has done exceedingly well in the face of increased demand for elective surgery, especially given post-earthquake capacity constraints.

But he believes it’s time that the public sector seek a different form of partnership with their private counterparts.

“We are offering to assist DHBs meet their demands while reducing their financial burden, saving them valuable and much-needed capital and allowing them to invest funds in other health priorities.

“This particular model of care is used overseas in the UK, China and Brazil and has been proven effective. Best of all, by utilising existing infrastructure we can significantly reduce the cost per patient.”


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