Research

Effect of COVID-19 pandemic decisions on tertiary-level surgical services in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

D J Laäs, Z Farina, D G Bishop

Abstract


Background. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the implementation of restrictive policies on theatre procedures, with profound impacts on service delivery and theatre output.

Objectives. To quantify these effects at a tertiary hospital in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.

Methods. A retrospective review of morbidity and mortality data was conducted. The effects on emergency and elective caseload, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions from theatre, theatre cancellations and regional techniques were noted.

Results. Theatre caseload decreased by 30% from January to April 2020 (p=0.02), ICU admissions remained constant, and theatre cancellations were proportionally reduced, as were the absolute number of regional techniques.

Conclusions. The resulting theatre case deficit was 1 260 cases. It will take 315 days to clear this deficit if four additional surgeries are performed per day.


Authors' affiliations

D J Laäs, Discipline of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Z Farina, Discipline of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

D G Bishop, Discipline of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Keywords

Anaesthesia; Theatre; Tertiary hospital(s); COVID-19; Coronavirus

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 0;0(0):. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i2.15332

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-12-14
Date published: 2020-12-14

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