INDEPENDENT NEWS

Emergency Surgery Falls Over

Published: Tue 17 Aug 1999 12:48 AM
“The madness of National’s cuts to staff and beds numbers in hospitals has been dramatically emphasised by a crisis which developed at Rotorua Hospital from July 31st to August 4th,” says Alliance Health Spokesperson, Phillida Bunkle.
116,000 people in the Rotorua area were left without any surgery services, including emergency surgery for 24 hrs on Monday 2nd August.
“It is frightening that surgeons are concerned. Clearly the downsizing of a major secondary hospital services has moved from being risky to down-right dangerous,” says Phillida Bunkle.
Surgical specialists have confirmed that Rotorua hospital management told staff on the Monday morning not to admit any patients for surgery however urgent. All surgery services including emergency, acute and elective were stopped by the management that was unable to provide nurses or beds for the patient load.
At least one patient requiring urgent surgery was sent to Hamilton. Scheduled services did not resume for another three days as the four general surgeons struggled to cope with the overload.
According to one of the hospital’s surgeons, “It was a terrible situation.”
The crisis followed a weekend of heavy admissions in which 33 acute cases were admitted.
Phillida Bunkle, said, “The situation at Rotorua highlights the madness of trying to make further cuts to an already strained hospital service. I’m appalled that the people of Rotorua cannot rely on their hospital to provide emergency surgery when they need it.”
“If a patient had died while being transferred to Hamilton then the Government would have blood on their hands. National’s health cuts have now gone way too far.”

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