The Health Ministry has recently brought attention to a growing concern regarding a substantial backlog of surgical cases, with more than 500 individuals currently on the waiting list.
This encompasses a range of medical procedures, including emergency surgeries, acute trauma interventions, cancer treatments, and less urgent medical interventions such as the removal of lumps and bumps.
Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu highlights the troubling trend is emerging as the number of cases continues to increase, with certain medical situations becoming increasingly acute due to delayed interventions.
He outlines key challenges hindering the timely execution of these crucial surgeries.
“The issue is not only with a theater with a number of theater that are being allowed to open, but also it is to do with the shortage in staff.”
Dr. Lalabalavu states that they are implementing a system to prioritize cases based on their severity.
“So as they do trials in the general outpatient, they also identify which cases need surgery the most at the earliest as possible in terms of emergencies and things like that. It is still an issue. It is affecting our service delivery.”
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong indicates that efforts are underway to collaborate with the private sector by utilizing available medical spaces
“There’s also another program to try and bring in more nurses from the private sector to come and better utilize some of our operation or spaces that we have available.”
The Ministry emphasizes the importance of exploring options to maximize the utilization of operation spaces in sub-divisional hospitals.