An upgrade of day-stay surgery at Dunedin Hospital is
likely to depend on whether funding can be found to refurbish
areas of the hospital, Resident Doctors' Association national
secretary Deborah Powell says.
The proposal is to increase day surgeries, and reduce the
need for patients to be admitted overnight.
The much-needed modernisation faced a major roadblock because
of the Southern District Health Board's dire financial
''Southern needs to get into this century. There are some
practices going on in Dunedin because it's the way we've
always done it,'' Dr Powell said.
Dunedin Hospital was ''isolated'' and had not kept up with
changes in other main hospitals.
''Dunedin day surgery tends to turn into an overnight stay,
whereas it doesn't elsewhere.''
Managers would take a paper to the board's hospital committee
in May, and have been reluctant to disclose information to
the Otago Daily Times.
Dr Powell said she believed building work was needed to
increase day surgery numbers.
Whether the financially strapped board could secure necessary
capital funds was unclear, but the spending would bring
significant benefits, she said.
Dr Powell slated the board for a lack of communication.
''Their communication, their engagement, is appalling,
The surgery paper was written by National Health Board senior
official Joy Farley, who was seconded to look at surgery
issues. Dr Powell said Ms Farley's paper should be released
to provide reassurance about what it contained.
''There's nothing in it that couldn't be circulated. It's a
discussion document; it raises some issues. Why isn't it out
there in the public domain?''Of course staff start to get
nervous if they hear of documents and they haven't seen it.''
Patient services director Lexie O'Shea, in a written
statement, said the paper was still in draft form, and was
being discussed internally.
Chairman Joe Butterfield said when contacted he did not know
what was proposed, but it was not simple to build new
facilities, because of the need for capital investment of up
to $500 million for Dunedin Hospital.
Detailed design plans for the whole project had to be drawn
up before any part of it was started, to ensure the hospital
was planned in a coherent way.