Sign Up

Orthopaedic Pathway Programme (Southern DHB)


originally posted by WM Admin on 27 January 2011 and updated 21 February 2014


The overall purpose of this programme of activity was to apply a whole of systems approach to improving the care pathway of the orthopaedic patient from the point of referral from primary care to discharge from hospital, and thereby reducing the waiting time for patients to receive orthopaedic surgery and freeing resources for additional elective procedures. 

The activity was strongly connected with the productivity initiative operating in Southland Hospital, “The Productive Operating Theatre”. 

The programme aimed to address delays where orthopaedic patients were waiting longer than the clinically optimal time to receive surgery, and occupied bed days that would otherwise be unnecessary. 

The programme was managed and funded in 2 phases. Phase 1 (Diagnostics) was anticipated to be completed within 6 months of its commencement. The aim of phase 1 was to identify the problem(s) and come up with ideas for solving them (PLAN). This phase would also include some small scale testing of the proposed solutions (DO) and evaluation of whether these changes resulted in the desired effect (CHECK).
Phase 2 (implementation) implements the changes on a larger scale (ACT). 

Funding was sourced in-house for Phase 1. A funding request for Phase 2 was made to the Ministry of Health as a submission in March 2011 for funding under the “Elective services productivity and workforce development programme”.

Significant involvement was expected to be required from staff, as follows:
• Project team
• Data collection and collation
• Pilot implementation
• Roll out
• Back-filling of staff seconded to the programme

Expected productivity gains are to be achieved in the following areas:
a. Reduction/removal of delays in surgery, so that the clinically optimal time can be met for all orthopaedic patients
b. Reduction/removal of postponements of elective surgery as a result of acute demand

What Worked Well

See a report on the programme in Appendix C of the Sothern DHB Hospital Advisory Committee Meeting agenda, 4 February 2014 -

OPP will conclude on 30 June 2014 with the work streams becoming business as usual.

Start Date

Oct 1, 2010

End Date

Jun 30, 2014





Target Population


Areas of Focus

Theatre, Ward, Elective Services

Contact Person

Chris Crane