Benefits of dedicated Saturday surgery list outlined

Patrick Ng.
Patrick Ng.
A dedicated Saturday surgery list for patients requiring urgent care could also help the Southern District Health Board ensure it hits its elective surgery targets.

This week’s hospital advisory committee meeting heard while acute surgery was bulk-funded as part of the health board’s base funding, elective, or planned, surgery funding was ‘‘earned’’.

And in Dunedin, while the number of urgent cases was stable, there was a higher rate of acute surgeries leading to cancellations of Monday-to-Friday planned surgeries, specialist services executive director Patrick Ng said.

The health board in the past two years ‘‘put robustness’’ into its plans, his report to the committee on Monday said — adding $6.5million a year to budgets for outsourcing to private hospitals to overcome a shortage in operating theatre capacity.

But the board had a target that, if missed, could technically put at risk the full amount of $25million it received for elective surgeries.

‘‘In the past it’s been quite significant for this organisation because we haven’t made all the case weights,’’ Mr Ng said.

Case weights measure the relative complexity of the treatment.

The board was 50 case weights ahead of its year-to-date plan, and the work was being managed ‘‘very carefully’’.

A permanently rostered Saturday list would help the board to not pay overtime for ad hoc lists and would be ‘‘highly utilised’’ as it could be used for acute cases that had come in over the week.

‘‘The combination of avoided overtime and avoided elective cancellations would be likely to more than pay for the regular list so this would be a structural improvement that would pay for itself.’’


Keep on dreaming. Sort out the lack of efficiency Mon-Fri first.

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