Only one orthopaedic surgeon left at Wairarapa DHB following another resignation

Just one orthopaedic surgeon is left at Wairarapa District Health Board following two resignations and a retirement in recent weeks.

A file image of a hospital ward. Source: Pexels

By Connor Stirling

The latest specialist to depart, Dr Konrad Schwanecke, is going to start work in a private hospital.

It comes after one resignation and one retirement last month.

The DHB is waiting for the registration of a third surgeon and expects the person to start soon.

With around 900 admissions to the orthopaedic ward every year, chief executive Dale Oliff says arrangements will be made to ensure patients receive the required care.

“We are working closely with our neighbouring DHBs on a management plan for orthopaedic cover while we actively recruit to these positions,” she says.

According to Chief Medical Officer Shawn Sturland, those arrangements may include bringing in support staff or moving orthopaedic surgeries to places like Wellington Regional Hospital, which has 15 such surgeons.

“We don’t want to disrupt our service or disadvantage our patients, but we do have a duty to our community and our priority is always to provide timely, quality care,” he says.

Discussions on the plans are “well advanced” and any patients affected will be notified by the Wairarapa DHB, health officials said.