Auckland City Hospital has been given a $2.5 million boost to increase surgeries and reduce waiting lists.
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced the extra funding for the Auckland District Health Board today. It will be drip fed to the board over the next three years.
The money will be used to introduce new ''productivity projects'' aimed to be make the hospital run more efficiently.
"The extra funding will help increase the number of surgeries performed at Auckland DHB and reduce the time patients wait, by making the whole process more efficient, " said Ryall.
One such move is that GPs will have ''new and clearer clinical guidelines to support them to decide how and where a patient is best treated".
Ryall said this meant fewer patients would be ''unnecessarily referred'' to hospital outpatient clinics for an assessment. Instead they would be ''more appropriately treated by their GP.''
"Specialist doctors normally make the clinical assessments at outpatient clinics, so reducing the number of appointments will also free up more time for them to provide other care,'' Ryall said.
Auckland's DHB will also introduce a new system to improve how it runs its daily theatre lists, to reduce patient wait times, provide patients with greater certainty as to when they will have their surgery and reduce the number of surgeries which are cancelled.
The new funding boost is a continuation of targeted funding provided over the past two years when Auckland DHB received $2.3 million for productivity steps.
Ryall said those measures included changes to how patients having ear, nose and throat surgery were assessed before the operation.
"Forty per cent of patients are now assessed over the phone before surgery rather than having to come into the hospital for an outpatient clinic. And for those patients still needing to attend an outpatient clinic, their wait time has reduced significantly from an average of 55 minutes down to 25 minutes. This is certainly faster and more convenient for patients,'' Ryall said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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