19 Oct 2021

Patients 'in limbo' after surgeries cancelled due to Covid-19

5:24 am on 19 October 2021

Around 1000 elective surgeries have been cancelled each week since the start of the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Healthcare people

Photo: 123rf

The figures were provided to the National Party's Dr Shane Reti in response to a written parliamentary question.

They look at the estimated numbers of procedures deferred at all district health boards between 15 August and 26 September.

In total, 84,991 patient procedures were cancelled in the period.

Of the 6068 cancelled elective surgeries, 1455 were Counties Manukau DHB procedures, and 1137 were at Auckland DHB.

The next highest were at Capital and Coast DHB - 489 elective surgeries.

It was a similar picture with total procedure cancellations: 25,316 were at Counties Manukau DHB, most being outpatient appointments but more than three times Auckland DHB which has the second-most total cancellations at 6,929.

Dr Reti said it was leaving patients "in limbo for an unknown period".

He said it was the cost of the government not increasing intensive care unit capacity.

Dr Reti said cancellations in South Auckland - "an area already suffering from significant health inequalities" - could have been reduced if rapid antigen testing was introduced at Middlemore Hospital earlier.

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