wcdhb banner
News and Media Releases

Media Releases Archive

Introducing This Page

This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

July 6, 2007

Inpatient Elective Services

Acting Chief Executive Wayne Champion said he was extremely disappointed that the DHB now needed to take more significant steps to safely manage a nursing shortage.

"The decision to reduce inpatient elective surgery was made to ensure the safety of patients and staff. We need to ensure that patient to staff ratios remain at a safe and manageable level and unfortunately until more staff are recruited this means the only option was to reduce the number of patients on the surgical ward."

Mr Champion said emergency and day surgery were unaffected.

He said the actual number of patients seen at Grey Base was unlikely to significantly change as the number of day surgery procedures would be increased.

"Its only procedures where individuals need to stay in hospital for 24 hours or more that are affected."

He said the DHB had continuously recruited for nursing staff year round but unfortunately a nationwide shortage had created difficulties in attracting both permanent and locum staff.

"We have had some success in attracting nursing staff however this has not been enough to prevent us from having to take more significant steps in order to safely manage the nursing shortage."

The DHB has recruited three overseas Registered Nurses from Zimbabwe, Canada and the UK. We are currently working on start dates and ensuring all immigration and nursing council requirements are met. Active recruitment continues, locally, nationally and internationally using a variety of methods.

Mr Champion said specialists would be reviewing their operating lists to ensure that those people in need of urgent surgery received it.

The DHB will be writing to GPs and to any patients whose procedures are being postponed.

"If you do not receive a letter telling you that your procedure has been postponed you should assume it is still on."

Mr Champion said while the DHB hoped that the scaling back of inpatient elective surgery would be a short-term measure, at this time he could not provide a date for the full resumption of services.

Mr Champion said at this time he could not provide an exact number of people who would be affected by the changes.

"We apologise to those people who will be affected - unfortunately despite the best efforts of staff the situation has reached a point where we needed to take significant steps."

Mental Health, Hannan Ward, Morice Ward, the Critical Care Unit, Parfitt Ward, Outpatients, McBrearty, Accident and Emergency and day surgery are all unaffected by today's announcement.

For more information please contact
Vikki Carter
Community Liaison Officer
03 768 0499, Extn. 2665
027 245 9595

Back to the Media Releases Archive