General surgeons in Dunedin and Invercargill will start
taking some acute urology calls this year to relieve pressure
on the centres' two permanent urologists. The move was
revealed in a newsletter to Otago GPs yesterday.
A ''difficult staffing situation'' continued to pressure
urology departments in Southland and Dunedin, Dr Anne
Worsnop's newsletter said.
Each site had only one permanent urologist. A locum in
Dunedin leaves next month, and the board has been unable to
secure another one.
''We are behind in most areas of urology, in terms of
follow-up and timeliness of surgery for cancer patients.
''We do not have resources to address this currently and some
patients will be referred out of the district.
''We are using some additional lists in the holiday period
while we have a locum,'' Dr Worsnop said.
Chief medical officer Dr David Tulloch said it was common
practice in some health boards for general surgeons to
provide such assistance.
They would be called up only for after-hours work, and were
unlikely to do any complex procedure, he said.
Asked about the situation in the week before Christmas,
patient services executive director Lexie O'Shea said urology
referrals were not being seen as quickly as the board liked.
New managers running clinical services following a recent
restructuring were trying to ''develop an understanding of
the issues and to look at changes to ensure that people are