Non-surgical Orthopaedic Physician
Auckland District Health Board is being supported by Health Workforce New Zealand to demonstrate the role of non-surgical orthopaedic physician at Starship Children’s Hospital (SCH). The new role aims to manage non-surgical referrals and in doing so release valuable surgeon time.
The paediatric orthopaedic service at SCH receives over 2000 referrals per year from primary care. Despite a rigorous triage process where 30% of primary care referrals are declined, the service is not able to keep pace with demand.
Of those children the department does see, a considerable volume don’t require surgical intervention; approximately only 5% of children who have a first specialist appointment go on to have surgery.
Seeing a large number of children with non-surgical or minor orthopaedic conditions referrals is an inefficient and costly use of an orthopaedic surgeon’s time, which causes delays in timely access to the department and places a heavy demand on the surgeons.
This workload may be better managed by the use of a non-operative physician or other health practitioner.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate the role of non-surgical orthopaedic physicians in paediatrics and to develop protocols to enable other practitioners to provide paediatric orthopaedic non-surgical services.
The demonstration will run for six months and will be fully evaluated to assess the efficacy of the non-surgical orthopaedic physician role and determine the suitability/acceptability of such a position in the New Zealand health environment.
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