Hospital plugs unplanned gaps with locums

GISBORNE Hospital’s orthopaedic service is under significant pressure, but support from the orthopaedic community has helped management secure “an interim plan,’’ says care manager of surgical services Lynsey Bartlett.

A high volume of acute patients presenting with injuries and broken bones, and a member of the team off on sick leave had put great demand on orthopaedic services.

“We do have a consultant leaving in mid-August and, while this has resulted in delays for appointments and clinics, visiting surgeons will be starting at the end of this month, she said.

“This will help us begin to catch up on assessments and surgeries.”

Patient John Fricker told the Herald he had become aware that the hospital’s orthopaedic department was short-staffed with departures and an ill surgeon.

“I was referred (to orthopaedics) in May," he said.

“After waiting a month, I received a letter informing me I could expect an appointment in the next four months.

"I rang outpatients last week on the advice of my GP and was told that no appointments were being given until September.”

Mr Fricker said it appeared the district was being “severely disadvantaged” by the current situation in orthopaedics.

Mrs Bartlett said the orthopaedic service consisted of 4.6 full time (FTE) employees.

“Our staffing will be 3.8 when the resignation of the consultant takes effect next week.

“We have locum staffing equivalent to 1.5 FTE commencing from late August to cover both the vacancy and a team member on long-term unplanned leave.

“Overall, that puts us at 4.5 FTE from late August.

“We are confident of employing a replacement for the staff member who is leaving, by the end of the year, and will continue locum support for unplanned leave.

“Everything seemed to hit us at once.”

Mrs Bartlett thanked the orthopaedic team at Hauora Tairawhiti and the wider “orthopaedic community” for their efforts.

“We are working hard to remedy the situation, so we can continue to provide a comprehensive service to the Tairawhiti community.”

GISBORNE Hospital’s orthopaedic service is under significant pressure, but support from the orthopaedic community has helped management secure “an interim plan,’’ says care manager of surgical services Lynsey Bartlett.

A high volume of acute patients presenting with injuries and broken bones, and a member of the team off on sick leave had put great demand on orthopaedic services.

“We do have a consultant leaving in mid-August and, while this has resulted in delays for appointments and clinics, visiting surgeons will be starting at the end of this month, she said.

“This will help us begin to catch up on assessments and surgeries.”

Patient John Fricker told the Herald he had become aware that the hospital’s orthopaedic department was short-staffed with departures and an ill surgeon.

“I was referred (to orthopaedics) in May," he said.

“After waiting a month, I received a letter informing me I could expect an appointment in the next four months.

"I rang outpatients last week on the advice of my GP and was told that no appointments were being given until September.”

Mr Fricker said it appeared the district was being “severely disadvantaged” by the current situation in orthopaedics.

Mrs Bartlett said the orthopaedic service consisted of 4.6 full time (FTE) employees.

“Our staffing will be 3.8 when the resignation of the consultant takes effect next week.

“We have locum staffing equivalent to 1.5 FTE commencing from late August to cover both the vacancy and a team member on long-term unplanned leave.

“Overall, that puts us at 4.5 FTE from late August.

“We are confident of employing a replacement for the staff member who is leaving, by the end of the year, and will continue locum support for unplanned leave.

“Everything seemed to hit us at once.”

Mrs Bartlett thanked the orthopaedic team at Hauora Tairawhiti and the wider “orthopaedic community” for their efforts.

“We are working hard to remedy the situation, so we can continue to provide a comprehensive service to the Tairawhiti community.”

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