Central Auckland > Public Hospital Services > Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) >

Auckland DHB General Surgery

Public Service

Description

What is General Surgery?
The role of the General Surgical Department varies from hospital to hospital, but in broad terms general surgery can be said to deal with a wide range of conditions within the abdomen, breast, neck, skin and, in many hospitals, vascular (blood vessel) system.
 
In each case, treatment is designed for each specific patient, taking into consideration the nature of the illness, the health and wishes of the patient and to some extent the resources available. The treatment options and advised course of action will be discussed on an individual basis with the patient when they are seen in clinic.  
 
While the name would suggest that the focus of general surgery is to perform operations, often this is not the case. Many patients are referred to surgeons with conditions that do not need surgical procedures, but merely require counselling or medical treatment.
 
The Team
The leader of the general surgical team is a consultant (specialist) general surgeon. When you are referred to a clinic or admitted to hospital you will be assigned to one specific consultant. However, consultants often work in teams of two or three, and to some extent your care may be shared between these consultants. Other medical members of the team include the registrar(s). These are fully qualified doctors who are now training to become specialists. The house surgeons are more junior doctors who have usually only qualified recently. Often there will also be trainee interns attached to the team. These are final year medical students who have completed all of their examinations and are now spending a year working on the wards prior to becoming registered as doctors. Finally, there may also be fourth and fifth year medical students attached to the team.
 
The medical team is complemented by the nursing staff, and a number of other staff including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and clerical staff. On the ward there will be a charge nurse responsible for coordinating the care given by the various nursing staff. Many wards run a system where one particular staff nurse is designated as the primary caregiver for a specific patient, but this is not always the case and it is likely that you will come into contact with a number of nurses during your stay. As with the medical staff there are often nursing students attached to the ward whose work is being supervised by their tutors and the regular nursing staff.
 

Auckland and Greenlane Department of General Surgery

The Department is divided into four units: Hepatobiliary, Breast/Endocrine, Colorectal and Trauma.

The Auckland Hospital Department of Surgery provides secondary surgical care for the Central Auckland population of approximately 400,000. It is also a major tertiary referral centre for the region and nationally.

Auckland Hospital is closely associated with Auckland University School of Medicine and is a major teaching campus for the University and various technical institutes.  

Consultants

Referral Expectations

If you have an urgent problem requiring immediate surgical assessment you are referred acutely by phone to the general surgical department where you will initially be seen by the junior medical staff who will decide whether you need to be admitted to hospital. Investigations will be performed as required, and the more senior members of the team involved where necessary.
 
If the problem is not urgent, the GP will write a letter and email or fax  to the surgical department requesting an appointment in the outpatient clinic. One of the consultant surgeons working in the department reviews these letters to determine who should be seen first, based on the information provided by the GP. Very urgent cases are usually seen within a couple of weeks, but other cases may have to wait a much longer time.
 
When you come to the surgical outpatient department you will be seen by a member of the surgical team who will ask questions about your illness and examine you to try to determine or confirm the diagnosis. This process may also require a number of tests (e.g. blood tests, x-rays, scans etc). Sometimes this can all be done during one clinic visit, but for some conditions this will take several follow-up appointments. Occasionally some tests are arranged even before you are seen at the hospital to try to speed up the process.
 
Once a diagnosis has been made, the medical staff will discuss treatment with you. In some instances this will mean surgery, while other cases can be managed with medication and advice. If surgery is advised you will be put on the elective surgical waiting list. Again these waiting lists are ordered according to the urgency and severity of the condition. The steps involved in the surgical process and the likely outcome are usually discussed with you at this time.
 
In order to minimise the amount of time of that you have to spend in hospital, many surgical departments run a preadmission process. This is usually done through a clinic where you are seen just prior to hospital admission. The aim of this clinic is to confirm that you still need to have the planned surgery and that you are currently fit and well enough to undergo the operation. This process usually involves the junior medical staff working in consultation with the anaesthetists, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc. Often the consultant surgeon will also take this opportunity to review your condition.

Procedures / Treatments

  • Breast Disorders

    General surgery covers breast diseases including breast cancer. These conditions are often initially dealt with in a specialised breast clinic which is able to perform a number of investigations (e.g.… More

  • Skin Disorders

    Skin conditions dealt with by general surgery include lumps, tumours and other lesions of the skin and underlying tissues.… More

  • Endocrine Disorders

    Abnormalities of the endocrine system treated by general surgery include disorders of the pancreas and adrenal glands in the abdomen and the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck. These are often very complex conditions requiring extensive investigations.… More

  • Gastrointestinal Disorders (Upper Gastrointestinal and Colorectal)

    Conditions of the gut dealt with by general surgery include disorders of the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, large bowel and anus.… More

  • Salivary Gland Disorders

    Disorders of the salivary glands may be dealt with by the general surgical department or the ENT (ORL) department depending on the local policy. More

  • Liver and Biliary System Disorders

    General surgery covers some disorders of the liver and biliary system.… More

  • Hernias

    A hernia exists where part of the abdominal wall is weakened, and the contents of the abdomen push through to the outside.… More

  • Surgery for Obesity (Bariatric Surgery)

    Please click here for a comprehensive booklet that discusses issues involved in the surgical treatment of obesity.… More PDF

Other

Please click on the following link for the Ministry of Health Guide to Elective Services at Public Hospitals http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/guide-electiveservices?Open

The Guide explains how a patient's care will be managed should elective services be required at a public hospital.

For information about intestinal failure see the National Intestinal Failure Service page.

Contact Details

Auckland City Hospital

Central Auckland

Patient enquiries: (09) 375 4300
Known extension/pager numbers: (09) 307 4949
Outpatient appointments and surgical booking enquiries: (09) 638 0400 or scheduling@adhb.govt.nz 
Mental Health Services 24 Hour Crisis Line: 0800 800 717
GP Help Desk: (09) 307 2800

2 Park Road
Grafton
Auckland 1023

Information about this location

View on Google Maps

Get directions

Street Address

2 Park Road
Grafton
Auckland 1023

Postal Address

Private Bag 92 024
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142

This page was last updated at 3:55PM on July 27, 2017. This information is reviewed and edited by Auckland DHB General Surgery.