The overall condition of Nelson Hospital’s main block was given the sixth worst score in the country. Photo: File.

Plans to clear surgery backlog

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Just over half the elective surgeries planned for April went ahead at Nelson Hospital under Alert Level 4, with the ways to clear the backlog now being planned.

According to Lexie O’Shea, general manager clinical services at Nelson Marlborough Health, 459 out of the 839 procedures they had planned went ahead.

In response to Covid-19, all healthcare services were reprioritised, except for all urgent and non-deferrable surgery procedures and assessments.

Lexie says they now seeing a steady increase in the number of non-urgent surgeries, procedures, and outpatient visits.

“The length of time to clear the backlog will depend on the resources available, for example, facilities, equipment and staff.

“Many of our outpatient clinics are continuing to be run using virtual health or telephone consultations where appropriate.”

For example, paediatric outpatients successfully converted their diabetes clinic into a virtual clinic via Zoom following the lockdown.

She says several clinical areas have been gearing up for virtual health consultations and are well placed to move to this format in the future.

“NMH is also exploring ways to streamline our outpatient settings to also reduce the number of people in waiting rooms to reduce physical contact.”