Hawke's Bay hospital waiting lists are getting shorter thanks to a new operating theatre, officially opened last Thursday by Prime Minister John Key.
Head of orthopaedic surgery Stephen Bentall said the new theatre helps prevent patients booked for elective surgery being delayed by acute life-threatening cases at the last moment.
He said it was a "big deal" for theatre staff, giving them more theatre capacity and freeing up Theatre 6 so it could be used for acute orthopaedic cases.
"Increased theatre capacity reduces pressure on the whole hospital and helps prevent patients with painful but not life-threatening injuries having to wait longer than they should for surgery," he said.
The latest video technology gives staff in the operating theatre the ability to see improved images during keyhole surgery.
"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."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board chief executive Kevin Snee said the board was able to build the $2.5 million theatre because it was now operating in surplus and thanked staff for their efforts.
"This investment we have made in the new theatre has already improved health outcomes and helped prevent delays in treatment," he said.
"Nobody wants patients waiting longer than they have to. The Hawke's Bay community has waited a long time for us to be in a financial position where we can invest in better facilities for our staff to work in and improve the theatre capacity for our patients."