The Southern District Health Board is saving money by not
outsourcing elective surgery to the private sector, a report
to tomorrow's board meeting shows.
After an outsourcing blow-out in the past financial year, the
board has stopped contracting Dunedin's Mercy Hospital for
While still in deficit this financial year ($3.7 million),
the board posted a $400,000 surplus for September, finance
and funding executive director Robert Mackway-Jones' report
said. This was partly because of a financial "buffer" from
not outsourcing elective surgery.
However, the board is falling behind elective surgery
targets. In September, elective surgery was 10% less than
planned. So far this year, it was 3% less than planned.
Acute surgery, which the board blames for hindering its
elective work, was 11% more than expected this year.
Last week, the Otago Daily Times reported patients
waiting for skin-cancer surgery at Dunedin Hospital increased
64% in the year to the end of September. Also, numbers of
patients shunted back to their GP for "active review" for all
ear, nose, and throat ailments were up 58%.
Committee members at today's hospital advisory committee will
hear the board has established extra "see and treat" clinics
for skin lesion patients to address the situation.
Treating about 27 extra patients a month, the initiative
should reduce the skin lesion waiting list, a report to the
committee said. The clinics started two to three weeks ago.
Skin lesions are dealt with by the ear, nose, and throat
Chairman Joe Butterfield has spoken sternly at recent board
meetings about the need to clamp down on outsourcing elective
surgery, because of the board's financial position.