4 Jan 2012

Work starts soon on new elective surgery unit

8:05 pm on 4 January 2012

Work is to commence soon on a new surgery unit that its promoters say will revolutionise the way elective surgery is done in New Zealand.

The first sod is to be turned in late February or early March on the $39 million state-of-the-art Elective Surgery Unit at North Shore Hospital.

A prime mover behind the 40-bed stand-alone centre, orthopaedic surgeon John Cullen,says it aims to carry out on a daily basis nearly double the number of orthopaedic operations that public hospitals do.

He says there are inefficiencies in the public system, such as not starting an operation if it is unlikely to be finished by the official end of the shift and the dedicated centre will do away with such inefficiency.

Mr Cullen says the new surgical unit won't require additional funding because of productivity gains and waste minimisation.

He says, for example, a pilot project has reduced by 40% percent the average length of stay in hospital.

This was achieved, he says, by putting patients who have had their operation on the same day together in the same room.

"So there's a little bit of competition as to who's best and does their exercises best and therefore who goes home earliest."

The Elective Surgery Unit will carry out a range of operations and be open in about 15 months time.