Surgeons frustrated by lack of national standards for planned surgeries


The President of the Association of General Surgeons says there is strong anecdotal evidence that districts have different criteria for waiting-listing for time spent in surgery. Photo/123rf, File

RNZ’s Rowan Quinn

The zip code lottery is still alive and well, and there are still no national standards for who gets surgery and how quickly, according to surgeons.

Te Fatu Ora last year replaced 20 separately operating regional health boards. This aims to eliminate wide differences in access to healthcare in different parts of the country.

However, Vanessa Blair, president of the Association of General Surgeons, said when it comes to planned surgeries, standards for undergoing surgery still vary across the country.

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“Progress was too slow and there was really no transparency,” she said.

Te Whatu Ora needs to share more data to better understand what is going on, she said.

There was strong anecdotal evidence that the criteria for being on the waiting list, or the amount of time spent waiting, varied from district to district.

Health Minister Aisha Veral.Photo/Jed Bradley, File
Health Minister Aisha Veral.Photo/Jed Bradley, File

“In some parts of the country, there is fatigue with general practitioners not even bringing hernia patients forward for consideration for repair. Get on the waiting list,” she said.

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Other regions can get treatment more quickly.

“In an ideal world, the same patient with the same hernia would be measured with a tool anywhere in the country and would have equal access to have that hernia repaired,” she said.

The lack of standards also applies to other relatively common surgeries, such as breast reconstruction after cancer, incontinence or obesity, she said.

Vanessa Blair, president of the General Surgeons Association.Photo/Courtesy, File
Vanessa Blair, president of the General Surgeons Association.Photo/Courtesy, File

Health Minister Ayesha Verral said: nine o’clock to noon On Monday, he said the establishment of Te Fatu Ora was just the beginning of a health reform that will take years to complete.

Even access to care has started on a small scale, she said, including removing some of the financial barriers for patients traveling between hospitals to get needed surgeries.

But we had to “scale up” and we had to do more.

“The bottom line is, between surgeons, surgery managers, and waiting list managers, ‘Who is this patient, is it safe to move, who has a list at another hospital? Can you do that?'” she said.

Work is also needed to use the theater more efficiently, she said.

Blair said more information is needed about the number of “functional” theaters available nationwide.

“It’s not enough to have a theater. You have to be able to staff it to run it,” she said.

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Some hospitals, such as Auckland’s three districts and Northland, have created their own agreements to ensure the same access for patients no matter where they live in the region, she said. rice field.



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