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Portable operating theatres key for NZ hospitals

Auckland – Mobile operating theatre units will soon significantly help struggling New Zealand hospitals during periods of high patient surgery demands, Mobile Health chief executive Mark Eager says.

Mobile Health owns and runs New Zealand’s mobile surgical bus which earlier this year marked its 15-year anniversary after more than 21,300 operations in 24 towns all over the country.

Eager will be presenting a case for mobile health units at the Future Healthcare Facilities conference in Auckland later today.

Mobile theatres new to NZ

The mobile theatre facility is new to New Zealand but has been pioneering technology in the United Kingdom, allowing permanent healthcare facilities to optimise their resources and better manage the demand on infrastructure, Eager says.

“We know there are significant opportunities for mobile health units in NZ. We are seeing an increasing demand for our mobile surgical bus. The country will soon be starting a colonoscopy screening programme and current theatre capacity around New Zealand is running out.

“The current building programmes are struggling to keep up. Often there are staff but not the actual theatre space. We at Mobile Health have had increasing demands to utilise the surgical bus at larger hospitals to help out.

“We have been assisting at Counties Manukau District Health Board’s Super Clinic over the past few Christmas holiday breaks to add one more theatre to their existing theatres to help get more patients treated.

DHBs keen on portable theatres

“We are getting inquiries and requests from quite a number of district health boards for this service. As the surgical bus is on the road servicing rural communities we have limited opportunities, at the moment.

“But we are looking to build some Portable Operating Departments (PODs) to assist with this demand around the country and relieve the strain on infrastructure by utilising mobile health units to maximise existing resources.”

Eager will be giving a joint presentation today with Gary King who will be joining by video conference from the UK. King started Vanguard Healthcare in the UK which provides portable theatres and endoscope facilities around the UK and Europe.

They assist when the need for elective surgery peaks due to demand or when theatres are being refurbished. King will show this model has helped deliver more care closer to home and use health dollars wisely.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: Mark Eager and the surgical bus

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