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Waikato DHB plans for increase in demand for surgery

Waikato DHB is increasing the amount of elective surgery it is outsourcing to other providers as it ramps up the number of operations it carries out to meet increasing patient demand.

The DHB is issuing a Request For Quote (RFQ) this week asking providers to bid for a contract to carry out a minimum of 2,500 planned operations for each of the next three years. These procedures will be across a wide range of specialties.

Executive Director Waikato Hospital Servcies Brett Paradine explained: “While we continue to deliver a large amount of elective procedures to our patients (119% of our target for 2015/16), with an aging and growing population in the Waikato the volume of surgery is increasing each year.

The DHB has been outsourcing a number of operations to both private providers and other DHBs, for several years, particularly to deal with staff vacancies and high demand for some specialties. Last year around 23,500 elective procedures were completed by the DHB – 5% of these were carried out by other providers.

Mr Paradine said: “We can achieve efficiencies by having elective procedures delivered in other hospitals as they are not disrupted by the acute work that the surgeons in Waikato Hospital do.

“We are working on a long term plan to increase theatre capacity at Waikato Hospital, but in the short term it makes sense to look at other providers to deliver these operations in a timely way. Given the volume of work to be outsourced we can achieve competitive pricing with a three year contract as it gives the providers certainty.

“We want any contract to include opportunities for our registrars to work alongside the surgeons in these providers as part of their training programme. This will give our junior doctors valuable experience in elective surgery, and was something that NZOA said we needed to improve as part of our training accreditation.”

Mr Paradine said the DHB would welcome responses from providers across New Zealand who could provide a high quality, value for money service.

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