Some prostate pa­tients to be sent to South­land

Otago Daily Times - - Dunedin - EILEEN GOOD­WIN eileen.good­win@odt.co.nz

ONE hun­dred men are wait­ing for prostate biop­sies at the stressed Dunedin Hos­pi­tal urol­ogy depart­ment, and some of them will be sent to South­land Hos­pi­tal, it has been con­firmed.

The South­ern District Health Board said yes­ter­day South Otago and some Cen­tral Otago pa­tients re­quir­ing biop­sies would re­ceive them in In­ver­cargill.

Those ar­eas fall in Dunedin Hos­pi­tal’s catch­ment.

Last month, an ex­ter­nal review found some urol­ogy pa­tients were at sig­nif­i­cant clin­i­cal risk.

Pa­tients had waited up to three years for fol­low­up ap­point­ments, can­cer pa­tients more than six months for surgery, and sur­veil­lance cys­toscopy cases were up to a year over­due.

The Dunedin depart­ment had just one ded­i­cated nurse, and de­ci­sion­mak­ing was slow.

The board said yes­ter­day it was re­cruit­ing an ex­tra nurse, but had made no de­ci­sion yet on re­cruit­ing an­other urol­o­gist.

The hos­pi­tal’s three urol­o­gists have been in con­flict with man­age­ment over the need for an ex­tra spe­cial­ist. The re­port said more work was needed to de­ter­mine if it was war­ranted.

Locum urol­o­gists would be sought to cover an­nual leave, chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Flem­ing said.

Of eight pa­tients who had been over­due for prostate can­cer surgery, all but one had had their pro­ce­dure.

‘‘Pa­tients re­quir­ing rad­i­cal prosta­te­c­tomy who were iden­ti­fied as hav­ing waited too long have now re­ceived their surg­eries.

‘‘There is now just one out­stand­ing case, which was resched­uled for clin­i­cal rea­sons

‘‘All out­stand­ing cases, where wait times ex­ceed ser­vice ex­pect­ ations, are be­ing re­viewed, with ap­point­ments, pro­ce­dures and surg­eries be­ing of­fered to those with great­est clin­i­cal need,’’ Mr Flem­ing said.

Dunedin man Ewen Ker­stens was unim­pressed by the steps taken, and said he paid for his own prostate biopsy be­cause the wait was too long.

Mr Ker­stens said the health sys­tem was be­ing qui­etly pri­va­tised as pa­tients gave up on the pub­lic hos­pi­tal and paid for their own care. He said he should be re­im­bursed for the $1100 he spent on the biopsy.

For­tu­nately, his biopsy was clear.

Chris Flem­ing

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