16 Sep 2017

Southern DHB commits to clearing patient backlog

12:38 pm on 16 September 2017

Southern District Health Board will bring in extra staff as it attempts to treat its long backlog of urology patients.

Dunedin Hospital.

Dunedin Hospital Photo: RNZ

Official information shows the DHB has a wait time of 191 days for prostate cancer patients - the longest in the country.

Chief executive Chris Fleming said the DHB would act on immediate priorities while developing an action plan.

That included recruiting an extra clinical nurse specialist at Dunedin Hospital, and committing to promptly seeing 100 patients needing prostate biopsies.

Locum consultants would be brought in to cover annual leave and there would be reviews of cases where patients had waited too long, with appointments, procedures and surgeries offered to those with greatest clinical need.

In July, Checkpoint with John Campbell revealed 10 prostate cancer patients at Dunedin Hospital waited up to seven months for surgery, which was meant to be happen within a month.

Yesterday, the DHB said patients requiring radical prostatectomy who had waited too long had now received their surgeries. There was one outstanding case, which had been rescheduled for clinical reasons, it said.

A review of urology services at the DHB described a chaotic, dysfunctional department in need of change.

The DHB agreed with the highly critical report, saying patient health and well-being were being placed at risk.

The report recommended Dunedin increase operating theatre lists, review the roles of all staff and standardise handling of referrals from family doctors across the DHB.

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