Media Release - 11/03/08
Patients needing acute surgical admission to Christchurch Hospital will now be fast tracked through to a new unit.
The 12-bed Surgical Assessment and Review Area (SARA) opened yesterday in Ward 16, which was refurbished last year. Patients who are identified as needing surgical treatment after seeing their GP or presenting to the Emergency Department will be admitted to the SARA, rather than to different wards across the hospital as has been done in the past.
The aim is to ensure that all acute surgical staff are based in one area, which will allow patients to be assessed for surgery more quickly and effectively and get into theatre sooner. Patients who are assessed and do not need surgery will be discharged home. These patients will receive a follow up telephone call from a member of the acute surgical team after they have left hospital to ensure their condition has not deteriorated.
Clinical Director Mr John Utley said under the old system the acute surgical team had traditionally had to move around the hospital to assess patients because they were not admitted to just one ward.
There are about 6000 admissions each year to the general surgery department. Seventy per cent of these patients present acutely, which equates to about 20 presentations a day. Half of all patients presenting acutely will undergo surgery.
The SARA is the surgical equivalent of the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU), which was set up in 2006. Both initiatives are part of the Improving the Patient Journey programme, which aims to improve patient flow through Christchurch Hospital.