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Waikato Hospital Beats Cardiac Target

Voxy Newswire
Voxy Newswire
Jan Adams
Jan Adams

The cardiac surgery service at Waikato Hospital has not only met its surgical target for 2010, it has exceeded it.

The service was working toward a target of 500 operations but actually did 617. That's the highest number ever recorded by the hospital and a 57 per cent increase on the previous year.

This is just one of the statistics contained in the department's recently-released annual report. It's the first time Waikato has publicly released cardiac surgical results and Jan Adams, Waikato District Health Board's Chief Operating Officer, says the knowledge that better figures equate to better patient outcomes is especially satisfying.

"These statistics represent personal stories of lives saved, outcomes improved and patients waiting less time for surgery. Making that sort of impact on people's lives is immensely rewarding for every member of our team."

In the past two years Waikato has made sweeping changes to its cardiac surgical services. The hospital had been under-performing in cardiac surgery and an internal review in 2007 identified the need to improve systems and processes particularly related to the patient journey. Mrs Adams says the drive for efficiencies has been rigorous.

"We worked with both clinical and clerical staff across all disciplines and challenged them to their core to strive for ways to improve our service to our patients."

Improvements, driven through Health Waikato's Programme Management Office, include developing a better referral process, using Clinical Nurse Specialists to manage both elective and acute patients and making better use of available theatre time.

Last year the Service also employed internationally-renowned cardio thoracic surgeon Mr Adam El Gamel as Clinical Director.

Mrs Adams says Mr El Gamel's appointment has not only boosted clinical capacity, "there is little doubt his international reputation, skills expertise and experience has had a tremendous impact on both the cardiac surgical services at Waikato Hospital as well as the colleagues that work with him."

In addition to increasing the number of operations by over half, the hospital has reduced operating times by almost two hours and ICU stays by 30 per cent.

Mrs Adams says the impressive results documented in the annual report are the result of a team effort, involving junior medical staff, nurses, perfusionists, anesthetists, management and clerical staff, as well as senior clinicians.
"This is a testament to the dedication of every member of our staff whose flexibility and tenacity has enabled us to serve the needs of our populations in an equitable and timely way."

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