More productivity = More operations   10 May 2012

More patients will get operations sooner as a result of a $7 million investment announced by Health Minister Tony Ryall.

The funding of $7 million will expand productivity programmes led by surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre nurses and other health professionals to improve quality and reduce delays for patients having operations.

The extra funding has been awarded to 11 district health boards (DHBs) to implement 21 projects which cover all aspects of surgery, from a patient’s first specialist appointment, to their surgery, recovery and follow up appointments. Projects being implemented include:

• The Productive Operating Theatre (TPOT) programme, which improves the way operating theatres are run. For example, keeping equipment in set places so theatre time isn’t wasted trying to find equipment.

12 DHBs are now implementing TPOT in 43 operating theatres with, South Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, Taranaki and Northland DHBs being funded this year.

• Improving pre-admission procedures to reduce the number of surgeries cancelled or delayed. The way patients are prepared for surgery is being redesigned at Nelson Marlborough and Taranaki DHBs this year.

• The Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programme to help people recover more quickly and safely after their operation so they have fewer complications and get home to their families sooner.

Bay of Plenty DHB is being funded for an ERAS project this year for patients who have had colon surgery which will then be rolled out to Waikato, Taranaki, Lakes and Tairawhiti DHBs. Counties Manukau, Southern and Capital & Coast DHBs are also implementing the ERAS programme this year.

“DHBs are reporting significant improvements since the productivity programmes were launched in 2010,” say Mr Ryall.

“Tauranga Hospital has reduced the number of patients being cancelled on the day of surgery by 70 per cent through changing their pre-admission process. A nurse now phones patients before their surgery to identify patients too unwell for surgery so they can be rescheduled and another patient booked in This means fewer empty spots on operating theatre schedules.

“Counties Manukau DHB has halved the average stay in hospital for patients who have had colon surgery from eight days to four days through the productivity programme. Patients are returning to their families sooner, without compromising their health.

Last year $8.6 million was awarded to 13 DHBs to implement 30 projects.

“This Government is committed to providing more New Zealanders with elective surgery. An extra 500 people a week are getting operations, compared to 2008, and with these programmes clinicians believe they can provide even more operations with the same resources.

(New Zealand Government)

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