Prime Minister John Key has officially opened Hawke's Bay Hospital's new $2.5 million operating theatre at its Hastings site today.
The hospital's head of orthopaedic surgery, Stephen Bentall, said the new theatre would help prevent patients booked for elective surgery being delayed by acute life threatening cases at the last moment.
Mr Bentall said the opening of a new theatre was a 'big deal" for theatre staff giving them more capacity, and freeing up theatre six so it could be used for acute orthopaedic cases.
"Increased theatre capacity reduced pressure on the whole hospital and helped prevent patients with painful but not life threatening injuries having to wait longer than they should for surgery," he said.
New video technology installed in the theatre would give staff the ability to see projected images of a procedure as it happened and react accordingly, so equipment was ready and waiting.
"This will make a big difference in time; help prevent delays and will contribute to better patient outcomes. Soon we will also be able to activate a connection via video link into an adjoining theatre while they are operating.
"I will be able to talk to my registrar operating in an adjacent theatre and offer advice while I continue operating on my patient - that's much better use of my time and helps improve patient care in a seamless way," Mr Bentall said.
Chief executive Kevin Snee said the main beneficiary of the new theatre was the Hawke's Bay community, as it would help prevent delays in treatment.