Faster turnaround for range of surgeries
People living in South Waikato and north Ruapehu districts will have the opportunity to access their elective surgery at Rotorua or Taupo hospitals, as well as Waikato Hospital, from April this year.
Waikato and Lakes district health boards have looked closely in recent months at ways patients from the two districts could access their elective operations sooner.
In particular it is patients requiring elective operations in orthopaedics, gynaecology, ear, nose and throat and ophthalmology.
Some Waikato patients received their major joint operations at Rotorua Hospital late last year, and talks since then have looked at expanding the number of patients and the range of procedures.
Waikato DHB chief operating officer Jan Adams told her board in Hamilton last week it would give those patients faster access to elective services.
‘‘ We will offer the patients in north Ruapehu and South Waikato the option of going to Rotorua or Taupo hospitals for outpatient assessments or for major surgery at Rotorua," she said.
The change will help provide greater certainty for GPs and patients and assist Waikato DHB in meeting the government’s shortened waiting times.
Briefings will take place with GPs in north Ruapehu and South Waikato on the process and the GPs will have information for those patients offered services at Taupo and Rotorua hospitals.
‘‘Lakes DHB has spare theatre and outpatient capacity and already meets the [ new] five month requirement,’’ said Mrs Adams.
Lakes DHB chief executive Ron Dunham said Lakes had traditionally been well ahead of its elective surgery targets.
‘‘That means we can look after our Waikato neighbours as Lakes has the staff and facilities to care for them in addition to our own patients.
‘‘This is good news for our neighbours as they will receive the operations and care that they require. The initiative is in line with the ongoing commitment both the Government and Midland DHBs have towards providing timely operations and care to their communities and for greater regional collaboration,’’ said Mr Dunham.
FASTER SERVICE: South Waikato residents can now opt to access their elective surgery in Rotorua or Taupo Hospitals from April.