8 Aug 2017

Dunedin Hospital surgeons operate only twice a month, surgeon says

From Checkpoint, 5:19 pm on 8 August 2017

General surgeons are allowed only two operating days a month at Dunedin Hospital and it's not enough, a clinical leader says.

The Southern DHB is embroiled in controversy over excessive waiting times for prostate cancer checks and pressures on cardiac services and intensive care beds.

Medical specialists say the shortage of intensive care beds for post-operative care has led to long waiting times for prostate cancer checks and cardiac surgery at Dunedin Hospital.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman told RNZ last week that was not plausible, but Dr Jo Krysa, the clinical leader of general surgery at the hospital, told Checkpoint that was indeed the situation they faced.

"Which is frustrating, and it's a frustration we have been trying to move forward on for a number of years. But we're still in a situation where there isn't adequate theatre resource provided to our surgeons to be able to do the work they're expected to do."  

"Our surgeons have two operating lists a month." 

Dr Krysa said surgeons should have at least a surgery list a week to be able to manage the volume coming through and meet targets

"But unfortunately, through lack of resource provided from the ICU and theatre capacity side of things, we have not been able to do that."

Mr Coleman has refused to apologise for calling the Southern District Health Board's urology department "toxic", despite complaints from doctors.