“I read it in the paper — all the information I’m getting is from the ODT. Management doesn’t talk to us, really.” –Prof Jean-Claude Theis
### ODT Online Mon, 7 Nov 2016
Patients turned away
By Eileen Goodwin
Nearly a third of orthopaedic patients referred for a first specialist assessment are being turned away from Dunedin Hospital, and the situation is becoming “untenable”, orthopaedic surgeon Prof Jean-Claude Theis says. The Dunedin School of Medicine professor of orthopaedic surgery said the relationship with Southern DHB management had become “very bad”. Orthopaedic surgeons were not consulted about a recent decision to outsource 129 surgeries. Prof Theis had not known about the outsourcing until an Otago Daily Times story a little over a week ago. […] “With management, we’re not getting anywhere. There’s no engagement. There’s no clinical governance any more, across the hospital.”
Locum ophthalmologist Dr Peter Haddad last week blasted the SDHB for keeping quiet, calling the decision “grossly unethical”.
### ODT Online Mon, 7 Nov 2016
ODT: SDHB wanted ‘free and frank’ debate
By Eileen Goodwin
The need for “free and frank” debate among Southern District Health Board bosses meant they kept quiet about the growing ophthalmology waiting list and cases of patient harm. The issue was not discussed in hospital directorate reports presented at public committee meetings since May, when those meetings resumed. […] The board notified patients less than two weeks before the release of the annual national adverse events report, later this week, in which patient-harm cases have to be disclosed. It will show 30 cases of harm from ophthalmology delays in 2015-16. There is likely to be more recent cases not included in the report …. [Interim chief executive Chris Fleming] admitted patients should have been told sooner. In an interview last week, Mr Fleming argued the situation was in part “good news”.
Sun, 6 Nov 2016
ODT: Petition started about hospital rebuild
Frustration with what she sees as lack of progress on the rebuilding of Dunedin Hospital’s clinical services block has prompted a Dunedin woman to circulate a petition she wants people to send direct to the Prime Minister or National MPs. Those who sign will “pledge not to support the National Party in the next general election unless we have an officially approved blueprint from the Government, acceptable to staff at the hospital and the medical school, to rebuild the clinical services block at the Dunedin Hospital by November 2017”. Cont/
Sat, 5 Nov 2016
ODT: Mental health petition delivered to Parliament
Dunedin mental health campaigners delivered a petition to Parliament this week calling for a nationwide inquiry. The Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust collected 1740 signatures. Chairwoman Corinda Taylor, with Denise Kent, presented the petition to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox on the steps of Parliament on Wednesday. “The petition respectfully requests the House of Representatives to conduct a nationwide inquiry into mental health services to determine if current services meet the demand and if future planning is adequate to meet future demand.” Cont/
Fri, 4 Nov 2016
ODT: SDHB conduct ‘unethical’
Not telling patients sooner that they risked permanent sight loss from delayed hospital appointments was “grossly unethical”, says an eye doctor who last year warned the board about the problem. In response, the Southern District Health Board admitted yesterday it should have told patients earlier. More than 4600 patients have been notified they are overdue for their ophthalmology appointment. In the past two years, 34 patients have lost part of their sight permanently, and that number is likely to increase. Cont/
Thu, 3 Nov 2016
ODT Editorial: Eye off the ball?
OPINION The latest revelations around ophthalmology pressures at the Southern District Health Board are confronting, and the problems are only part of the iceberg nationally. Earlier this week, this newspaper reported patients were going partially blind while they waited for SDHB appointments. […] Fixing or managing problems can prevent issues compounding, and alleviate financial and physical pressures on the health system further down the line. […] Commissioner Kathy Grant has said she has confidence in SDHB medical oversight and governance, yet the problem is such that the board is prepared for more cases of harm to emerge and has notified more than 4600 patients they have been identified as being overdue for appointments. Cont/
Wed, 2 Nov 2016
ODT: Ministry of Health ‘ducking’
The Ministry of Health has been accused of “ducking responsibility” on the hospital eye appointment “disaster”. The ophthalmology pressures at the Southern District Health Board have caused some patients to go partially blind while waiting for an appointment. The senior doctors’ union and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists say problems highlighted in the SDHB are widespread throughout New Zealand. Cont/
“The problem has been exacerbated by the state of our information systems not being able to clearly identify this issue.” –Commissioner Kathy Grant
Wed, 2 Nov 2016
ODT: Grant stands behind Southern DHB
Commissioner Kathy Grant declined to be interviewed yesterday about the patient harm cluster in ophthalmology, but says she has confidence in Southern District Health Board medical oversight and governance. In a statement, Mrs Grant said she was told about Dunedin Hospital’s ophthalmology waiting list problem in the middle of this year. This week the board revealed 30 patients suffered partial sight loss in 2015-16 because of overdue appointments, on top of a group of four patients the year before. Six of the 30 have a “severe” degree of loss. […] The board has admitted it is not on top of the situation in Dunedin, and more cases of harm may emerge. More than 4600 affected patients have been notified. Cont/
Sun, 30 Oct 2016
ODT: Extra orthopaedic operations sought
The Southern District Health Board is trying to find an external provider for an extra 129 orthopaedic surgery cases in a bid to meet a national health target. A request for proposal issued last week on a government website says SDHB would fund up to 129 extra orthopaedic procedures in 2016-17 in order to achieve a national health target. […] Orthopaedic surgery waiting times have been a source of tension between DHB management and orthopaedic surgeons. Surgeons have lobbied for more operations, and have suggested southern orthopaedic patients need to be more debilitated than in other parts of the country before qualifying for surgery. Cont/
Sat, 29 Oct 2016
ODT: Doctors’ strike caused hundreds of postponements
The Southern District Health Board has released new figures showing the impact of the junior doctors’ strike. Fifty-two patients had a procedure postponed and 725 outpatients had a hospital appointment postponed. Another 52 patients were not booked for an appointment or procedure once the strike notice was received, the board told the Otago Daily Times yesterday. Cont/
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
This post is offered in the public interest.