The Southern District Health Board says a national league
table showing it in last place for elective surgery is not a
In tables published by the Ministry of Health yesterday
Southern appeared to be the worst-performing district health
board, scoring 90% on a target of improving access to
elective surgery. The target is 100%.
The tables cover the first three months of 2012-13.
Patient services executive director Lexie O'Shea said the
board had an IT issue since the start of the financial year,
which meant it was not able to accurately feed its elective
surgery results to the Ministry of Health.
This year was the first the board had reported Otago and
Southland figures as one.
The problem was reported to board members recently at the
hospital advisory committee.
However, she acknowledged the board was "slightly behind" on
She could not give an estimate of where the board really sat
in relation to the others, and said that was still being
A busy winter season affected elective surgery because of
pressure on hospital beds.
Mrs O'Shea said the board was referring fewer patients to
other boards for surgery, which made its figure lower, but
she did not know why that was happening.
The board has also stopped outsourcing to private provider
Mercy Hospital this financial year in an effort to control
Mrs O'Shea said yesterday the board was "maximising use of
our own facilities", but acknowledged it might need to start
outsourcing again to meet its targets.
The board's emergency departments result showed more patients
waited too long for treatment. However, its position relative
to other boards' emergency departments was similar.
Mrs O'Shea said that reflected a busy winter, which put
pressure on hospital beds at Southern, as well as in other
The emergency department treated or transferred 86% of
patients within six hours, compared with 90% in the previous