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Health Minister opens new surgical ward at Waikato Hospital

The Minister of Health Hon Dr David Clark today cut the ribbon to open a new 26-bed ward, which will cater for acute surgical patients who come through the Waikato Hospital Emergency Department (ED).

Waikato DHB Board chair Sally Webb says today’s official opening of a surgical ward will help reduce the long wait for patients in ED and is a big step forward for streamlining those requiring acute surgery in the hospital.

“This now means that many of the patients seen in this area will be able to bypass the Emergency Department, and for others they will spend significantly less time in ED, relieving pressure on the service.”

The new ward will have 10 surgical assessment beds and 16 short stay patient beds and will help to relieve pressure on the increased demand for services at Waikato Hospital.

Waikato DHB interim chief executive Derek Wright explained that the increase in demand for services is not just a winter-only phenomenon and that it is now present all year round.

Mr Wright said: “Opening a new ward was needed to improve patient flow and increase our capacity to cater for our patients. We opened another ward OPR5 back in September 2017 for our medical patients, this one is for surgical patients.

“It is also very exciting for the 40 new staff who will be working on the ward. The ward was blessed last week so we could open for business as soon as possible to start accepting patients as the hospital is very full at the moment.

“The number of people coming to Waikato Hospital ED has increased 20 per cent over the last five years. Patients are also spending longer in the hospital, which is putting more pressure on the available hospital beds.

“Having this new ward will contribute to improving the way patients move through our hospital. However, the work doesn’t stop here and we will still continue to work to streamline and make improvements to our systems and processes.

“While we are investing substantial sums in increasing the hospital’s capacity it is not going to completely solve the demand issue which is growing day by day and we need to work closely with our partners in primary care to help us manage this demand.”

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