Te Whatu Ora called on health districts to move on with surgical waiting lists. Photo / Bevan Conley
Eight people in Whanganui who have been waiting for surgery for more than 12 months will be booked by the end of August.
The reservations are the result of a series of directives sent by the planned care task force to health districts across the country in an attempt to accommodate the large number of people waiting for surgery.
In response, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand sent a letter to its 20 health districts to “actively tackle” long waiting lists by ensuring that the nearly 7,500 people who had been waiting for more than 12 months for a surgery were booked by August 31.
Katherine Fraser-Chapple, chief operating officer of Te Whatu Ora Whanganui, said eight patients in the Whanganui area had been waiting more than 12 months for surgery.
She said the directive was intended to ensure that the highest priority bookings would continue to be reserved for people in need of urgent care, and that the directive’s bookings would not come at the expense of those in need of urgent surgery.
With this in mind, the eight people had been examined on the severity of their condition and would be reserved by medical priority. The guideline was to have patients scheduled for treatment but not necessarily treated by August 31.
Fraser-Chapple said the directive could put more pressure on the Whanganui health system to some extent, and Te Whatu Ora Whanganui would use regional capacity from other health districts as it was available to accommodate patients.
Te Whatu Ora has also set September 30 as the deadline for its health districts to book appointments for more than 4,000 people who have been waiting for a specialist first assessment (FSA) for over 12 months.
Fraser-Chapple said 15 people in Whanganui were in this FSA period and 11 of them were booked for an FSA in August and September.
To further help patients and the healthcare system, Fraser-Chapple said planning was underway to increase the amount of care provided by GPs, nurses and allied health professionals, and to review the resources that would be needed. to do this.
“It would free up chief medical officers working in hospitals and specialist departments to provide care that others cannot.”
She said the plans being developed would not replace medical professionals with a non-clinical workforce.
“Some of the plans being developed seek to engage highly qualified clinicians
workforce, such as nurses and allied health professionals, to perform the tasks they
currently maybe not.”
Te Whatu Ora was also exploring the steps needed to expand the use of successful clinical pathways to areas that weren’t using them, Fraser-Chapple said.