Media Release - 24/07/09
Some elective surgery at Christchurch Hospital will be postponed in coming weeks to reduce the pressure on the Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
“A combination of swine flu and seasonal flu as well as usual demand for ICU services means that in the last ten days we have seen a much higher demand for Intensive Care,” Mark Leggett, Canterbury District Health Board’s General Manager Medical and Surgical Services said.
“To ease the situation we are taking a number of steps. These include increasing the number of ICU beds by extending the Unit into a Cardiothoracic Ward; sending some patients, who were to come to Christchurch, to other DHBs; postponing surgery for people that could require Intensive Care post-operatively; and arranging for people who need urgent surgery to have their operations at local private hospitals or in other centres.”
Among the operations that most often require post operative intensive care are cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, head and neck surgery, vascular surgery, cancer operations and some gynaecological procedures. People, whose surgery will be affected by the changes, will be informed as necessary but it is not known how many people will have their operations postponed.
“New Zealand Intensive Care specialists are meeting daily via teleconference to discuss the availability of beds so that resources can be shared around the country,” Mr Leggett said.
“There is a terrific amount of collaboration happening between clinical staff and managers, private hospitals and the public system to ensure that we can continue to provide this highly specialised care to those that need it. Everyone in our ICU has been working incredibly hard and I have been very impressed with the willingness of staff, who have had previous Intensive Care experience, to come back into the area to help the Unit through this difficult time.”