Bone Marrow Transplant Services Under Pressure

Over the last few months I’ve been made aware that specialist hospital services are struggling to meet the demand in the delivery of bone marrow transplants, across the country.  The situation is most dire at Auckland hospital, where transplant services are being pushed to the limit.

I first wrote about this issue in October last year, and since then it looks as if the situation has worsened.  This is very concerning as unlike hip operations which can be rescheduled bone marrow transplants save lives!

We are aware that some patients are experiencing longer waiting times to have their transplants, as there are not enough beds in Auckland hospital.

In some cases patients are also being relocated to other city centres for their transplants.  This means they are in hospital, often for long periods of time, isolated from their families and friends.  This is additional stress that patients don’t need.

This is despite the best efforts of the dedicated haematology team at Auckland hospital, who do their utmost not to relocate people unless there is no other option.

We are aware that the staff are under huge pressure. it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to find enough beds for patients and a huge amount of rescheduling must be undertaken by specialist nurses and doctors to ensure transplants occur.  This rescheduling is also having an impact on stem cell collection slots, which also need to be managed very carefully.

There’s a risk that the situation in Auckland Hospital has the potential to flow on to other haematology treatment centres around the country, eventually also pushing their services even further under pressure.

A key part of what the LBF does is to work on behalf of patients. We intend to address this issue with DHB staff and the Minister of Health Tony Ryall and ask for some solutions.  We will be watching how this progresses over the coming months and will keep you up to date on our progress.

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