No new ICU beds costing 1000 surgeries per week

The Government’s failure to provide any new ICU beds means 1000 elective surgeries are being cancelled every week, says National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“Answers to my questions to the Minister of Health show that, in the first six weeks of the current outbreak, 1000 operations were cancelled per week, along with 1500 testing procedures and 6000 specialist appointments.

“Andrew Little’s failure to build any new ICU beds in Auckland over the past 15 months is reflected in Counties-Manukau, with Middlemore Hospital especially affected with a quarter of all cancellations across the whole health system.

“Had there been better ICU capacity everywhere, surge management of the health system under lockdown might not be costing 1000 surgeries per week.

“Earlier rapid antigen testing at Middlemore could have also reduced the number of cancellations in South Auckland – an area already suffering from significant health inequities.

“People awaiting cancer treatment, or hip surgery, for example, are now left in limbo for an unknown period because Andrew Little is more interested in funding expensive private consultants in Wellington instead of funding ICU beds.

“He should immediately stop funding consultants to the tune of some $7 million to date for his restructuring vanity project and start providing the health services New Zealanders need right here and now.”

You can read an answer to a Written Parliamentary Question below, and see the table attached here.

Reply 44648 (2021) has been answered
Portfolio: Health (Hon Andrew Little)

Further to 40832(2021) how many inpatient procedures have been cancelled across DHBs from Aug 17 2021 to the present, listed by DHB in the same format as Table 40832(2021) ?

I refer the Member to the attached table for the estimated number of procedures that have been deferred during the current COVID-19-related lockdown. Data on full disruption to services is expected to be available once clinical coding for activity undertaken during August and September has been completed in November 2021.