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Some Regional Centres Too Small To Sustain Acute Care

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Some Regional Centres Too Small To Sustain Acute Care

Wellington, Aug 19 NZPA- Some regional hospitals may need to align with larger centres in order to provide high quality acute surgical care, according to leading New Zealand surgeons.

Over 80 surgeons are at a Queenstown meeting today organised by the New Zealand National Board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Fellows and trainees of all nine specialities of the college will also be there.

The meeting will focus on the need for timely, sustainable high quality acute surgical care in all centres.

There were no hospitals that should close, but patients from some smaller centres such as Whakatane might need to be transferred to larger centres like Tauranga in order to give limited surgeons a rest and not compromise patient safety, national board chairman John Kyngdon said.

Acute surgical services "must not be constrained by current or historical models of service provision or local political pressures," according to a draft paper circulating at the meeting today.

Local political pressures referred to funding models the district health boards had in place which might affect funding flows across districts, Mr Kyngdon told NZPA.

The board has called for those providing acute health services on a regular basis to not be expected to work more than one night and one weekend in every four.

There should be one orthopaedic surgeon to every 15-20,000 people and the minimum regional population to support a viable 24-hour acute surgical services should be 60-80,000.

"As health services strive for improved quality, safety, sustainability and efficiency, it may not be possible to support the provision of fully staffed 24 hour acute surgical facilities at a number of hospitals with small regional populations," Mr Kyngdon said.

Key topics up for discussion at the meeting today and tomorrow are: The Provision of Acute Surgical Services in Provincial New Zealand; An update on the National Trauma Database; Recent Advances in Surgical Care, Training and Workforce, and The Acute Theatre.

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