Over 100,000 procedures and specialist appointments canceled due to Delta
Almost 103,000 hospital procedures and events had to be canceled across the country in the first 10 weeks of the Delta Covid-19 epidemic.
Between August 15 (two days before the first case of Delta was reported) and October 24, approximately 102,959 planned (elective) care procedures were canceled due to the outbreak, according to data released via a written parliamentary question. .
Auckland – which has been stranded for 87 days – has been hit the hardest: especially the Manukau Counties District Health Board, which has taken on 33% of cancellations during that period. However, all DHBs were impacted.
To enable the healthcare system to respond to Covid-19, many elective surgeries and outpatient appointments have been put on hold – similar to what happened with last year’s lockdown.
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Across New Zealand, 6,550 planned hospital care procedures (elective, in-hospital procedures) were canceled, including 1,702 in Manukau DHB counties; 1164 in Auckland DHB and 464 in Waitematā.
All DHBs except Taranaki and Whanganui had to cancel some scheduled hospital care, ranging from dozens of procedures to 527 in Waikato.
More than 43,700 first specialized evaluations (when a patient is first referred to a specialist) and follow-up appointments have been canceled nationwide due to Covid-19.
Of these, 11,307 were in Manukau DHB counties; 5306 were in Auckland DHB; and 3672 were canceled at Waitematā. Canterbury DHB had to reschedule 2953 specialist appointments, Capital and Coast 2749 and 2564 in Waikato.
Diagnostic radiology exams – CT, MRI and ultrasounds used to diagnose diseases such as cancer – have also been affected, with 10,629 exams canceled across the country.
Waikato DHB was the hardest hit: 2409 scans canceled over 10 weeks. In Auckland and Manukau counties, more than 1,400 people have had their deferred scan.
Over 2100 endoscopies (a diagnostic procedure that involves placing a camera in the upper digestive tract) have been reported across the country.
The Northern Region Health Coordination Center (on behalf of the three Auckland DHBs) has been approached to comment on steps that have been taken to clear the backlog and whether boards of health are confident they can catch up. delay.
He did not respond on time.
National health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti criticized “the failure of Minister of Health Andrew Little to prepare the health system for Delta ”because many Kiwis miss the planned care.
Even before the current outbreak, more than 30,000 people were already waiting longer than the prescribed four months for hospital treatment, Reti said.
He pointed to the government’s failure to introduce rapid saliva and antigen testing and the slow rollout of the vaccine as contributors to the prolonged lockdown, impacting these “must-have” procedures.
“These are missed cancer diagnoses, delayed cataract removals and delayed hip replacements. It’s more suffering and pain for New Zealand families.
Little to say, as with any other lockdown, there will be disruption in planned care.
“Our frontline healthcare staff continue to provide quality care in response to the Covid-19 pandemic while continuing to cope with their daily workload, and they are doing a great job,” he said. declared.
Little recognized that the health system has “long been under strain” – one of the reasons for health reforms.
The government has made $ 282.5 million available over three years to help DHB catch up on the backlog under the 2020 budget, and has invested an additional $ 90 million this year, he said.
“We have also given DHBs an additional $ 50 million to pay for the additional facilities they need to help them get to the top of the wait list.”