Hawke’s Bay Hospital has a long list of people who have been waiting for surgery for more than 12 months.

In an Official Information Act response to BayBuzz, as of August 31, 2023, there are a total of 274 people who had been waiting for surgery for longer than 12 months. Of those 64 were orthopaedic patients.

The numbers have dropped considerably in recent months, which is some relief.

On January 31, 2023, the total number of people on the waiting list for surgery for longer than 12 months was 433 of which 111 were orthopaedic patients.

The hospital noted a patient could be counted in multiple months and the data was provisional.

In response to whether those who miss out on surgery this year, would be prioritised next year, a spokesperson said all options were being explored to ensure people who were on wait lists received the treatment they need.

“Seasonal and workforce pressures continue to impact delivery of planned care,” they said.

“These options include exploring availability in other hospitals which have capacity to perform surgeries, or the potential of workforce to travel to Hawke’s Bay, performing surgeries in the evening when workforce availability allows, and outsourcing within the district.

“Cases are prioritised at a clinical level and every effort is made to deliver treatment as quickly as possible.”

Interim district lead Te Whatu Ora Te Matau a Māui Hawke’s Bay Paula Jones said patients who have waiting for longer than four months, but less than three years, for surgical treatment had been contacted and reassured that Te Whatu Ora was working hard to improve wait times.

Jones said there had been a “focussed effort” on treating people who had been waiting the longest for treatment.

“For patients accepted onto the wait list, priority treatment is based on clinical urgency and a patient’s ability to benefit from that surgery,” she said.

Jones said as of September 22, there were zero patients waiting longer than three years for surgery with Te Whatu Ora in Hawke’s Bay.

Te Whatu Ora set the national target for surgical specialties (excluding orthopaedics) that those patients waiting longer than a year for surgery, but less than three years, receive treatment within 12 months of being placed on the surgical waiting list. 

Jones said Te Whatu Ora in Hawke’s Bay was working towards meeting the target by December 31, 2023.

Te Whatu Ora set a national target for orthopaedic patients on the waiting list to be waiting no more than 12 months for surgery by 30 June 2024.

Through work by Te Whatu Ora, in partnership with the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association and Physiotherapy New Zealand, anyone who has been waiting longer than 365 days for orthopaedic surgery will have been treated or be scheduled for treatment by then.

Hawke’s Bay orthopaedics have a target of nobody waiting over 12 months for surgery by 30 June 2024. 

Jones said workforce challenges affected services nationwide and Te Whatu Ora in Hawke’s Bay was no exception.

“Our team are working hard to meet these targets and will continue to work through the wait lists with the resourcing available.”

Concerned about health issues? Contact Sahiban at: shyde@baybuzz.co.nz

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air

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