Women upset at surgery 'pool list'

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:00 24/07/2013

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Standby surgery has become a reality for women in Palmerston North and Whanganui - they won't be given a designated surgeon unless their procedure requires one.

Moves to establish "pool lists" for less complex surgeries in the Central Alliance Regional Women's Health Service were announced at the MidCentral District Health Board hospital advisory committee yesterday.

But it has sparked concern from the Palmerston North Women's Health Collective, which said vulnerable women wanted to ask questions and felt comfortable with a surgeon they knew.

Advisory committee member Barbara Robson questioned the decision because "the woman has no idea who will be doing her procedure".

MidCentral operations director of hospital services Lyn Horgan said the women would be like "standby patients" and would meet the registrar or surgeon on the morning of their surgery.

"There are a number of services that have pool lists. They are the less complex procedures and a lot of them our training registrars are able to undertake," she said. "They are also patients who don't have to present to a pre-assessment - they don't require anaesthetist input."

Ms Horgan said there had been no objections and if patients were unhappy they would probably be left with their desired surgeon.

Palmerston North Women's Health Collective community health worker Jean Heta said women's health often included vulnerable areas and cultural issues.

"Some women have sexual abuse issues and past experience that really affects them," she said. "Ability to ask questions to the right person is important because not all specialists do things the same.

"It's [also] about the right to give informed consent. I would have thought that would have included some meetings with the specialist who is doing the procedure."

Committee chairman Jack Drummond said pool lists weren't unreasonable. "The relationship is with the organisation and not with a particular surgeon."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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