Surgical milestone

The mobile surgical bus service will perform its 10,000th operation when it visits Oamaru Hospital next week.

The bus, which cost $5 million, carried out its first operation at Te Puia Springs, north of Gisborne, on March 8, 2002, and started visiting Oamaru Hospital from March 26 in the same year.

The giant rig, with its modern operating theatre and telecommunication facilities, is operated by Mobile Surgical Services, based in Christchurch, and funded by the Ministry of Health.

It travels the length of New Zealand on a five-week cycle, providing low-risk elective surgery using local and regional health-care professionals to staff it.

The bus is capable of carrying out more than 300 different surgery procedures, giving rural patients, selected from public waiting lists, the chance to be treated close to home.

It also offers the opportunity for health professionals to share knowledge and gain new skills.

Oamaru, one of the early towns to use the service, has had 82 visits by the bus, which has treated 620 local patients.

In Oamaru it has carried out 211 general surgery, 260 orthopaedic, 83 ear-nose-throat, 58 dental and eight endoscopy procedures.

During its stopover in Oamaru next Wednesday, after carrying out seven general surgery operations, the bus will celebrate its 10,000th procedure with an open day from 3.30pm, which will include demonstrations of some of the key equipment it uses.

That will be followed by a public meeting at 5.30pm in the Pipe Band Hall (next to the hospital) where those who set up the service, some patients and supporters will speak, and a video link with Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean in Parliament at 6.30pm will be provided.




10,000 operations in NZ since March 8, 2002, comprising. -

3934 - dental surgery
1857 - general surgery
1720 - endoscopy
847 - ear, nose and throat
717 - orthopaedic
322 - gynaecological
315 - urological
261 - opthalmology
185 - plastic
4 - other

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