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Surgeons Call For High Quality, Acute Surgical Care

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Surgeons Call For High Quality, Acute Surgical Care

New Zealand surgeons are calling for timely, sustainable high quality acute surgical care.

A draft paper on the delivery of Acute Surgical Services, circulated at a special scientific meeting of the New Zealand National Board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in Queenstown today (19/8), says acute surgical services "must not be constrained by current or historical models of service provision or local political pressures."

The meeting is being attended by 80 of New Zealand's leading surgeons as well as trainees and researchers across all nine of the College specialties.

Chair of the New Zealand National Board John Kyngdon says the Board considers those providing acute health services on a regular basis should not be expected to work more than one night and one weekend in every four.

The Board believes a ratio of one general and one orthopaedic surgeon to every 15-20,000 people is appropriate and considers the minimum regional population to support a viable 24-hour acute surgical service should be 60-80,000.

Mr Kyngdon says the continuing viability of any acute surgical service is dependent on the availability and strength of supporting services such as: anaesthesia, radiology, pathology and intensive care.

"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 or marginal regional populations," he says.

"The Board believes consideration should be given to linking smaller centers struggling to provide a 24 hour acute surgical service, with adjacent larger provincial or metropolitan centers.

"Although it may not be possible to adequately staff some smaller hospitals for a 24 hour acute surgical service the facilities and staff can still be used effectively to provide a considerable volume of semi-acute surgical care and elective surgery as part of a regional service," he says

Mr Kyngdon says it is essential that the skills available in Emergency Departments in smaller hospitals are enhanced and supported.

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