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Waitemata DHB General Surgery Services

Public Service

Description

What is General Surgery?
The Department of General Surgery at North Shore Hospital deals with a wide range of conditions within the abdomen, breast, neck, and skin, including trauma. There is no vascular surgery service, and patients from the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) area are sent to the vascular service at Auckland City Hospital.
 
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 dietitians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, speech language therapists, social workers 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.

Consultants

Referral Expectations

Acute Referrals

If you have an urgent problem requiring immediate surgical assessment you are referred acutely to the General Surgical Department at North Shore Hospital 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.
 
Elective Referrals
 
If the problem is not urgent, the GP will write a letter to the 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. Outpatient clinics are run at both North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals.

When you come to your clinic appointment please bring any relevant x-rays, scans, or results with you. Your surgeon 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 visit, but for some conditions this will take several follow-up appointments. Occasionally some tests are arranged even before your appointment to try to speed up the process.

 
Once a diagnosis has been made, your surgeon 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, the steps involved in the surgical process and the likely outcome are usually discussed with you at this time.
 
If surgery is advised you will be placed on the elective surgery waiting list. Most major surgery is performed at North Shore Hospital, but other operations may be performed at the Elective surgery Centre, and some minor surgery can be performed at Waitakere Hospital. The waiting lists are ordered according to the urgency and severity of the condition.
 
You may be required to attend a preadmission clinic before your surgery. The aim of this clinic is to confirm that you are fit and well enough to undergo the surgery. The process involves junior medical staff working in consultation with anaesthetists, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc.

Common Conditions / Procedures / Treatments

  • Surgery for Obesity (Bariatric Surgery)

    Obesity is one of the main causes of poor health.… 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

    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

  • Gallstones

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

  • Hernias - Including Patient Information Video

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

  • Vascular Disorders

    Vascular (blood vessel) disorders treated by general surgery at WDHB include varicose veins.… More

  • Mammography

    A mammogram is a special type of x-ray used only for the breast.… More

  • Ultrasound

    In ultrasound, a beam of sound at a very high frequency (that cannot be heard) is sent into the body from a small vibrating crystal in a hand-held scanner head.… More

  • Fine Needle Aspiration

    This procedure involves inserting a needle through your skin into the breast lump and removing a sample of tissue for examination. More

  • Breast Biopsy

    Open Excisional: a small incision (cut) is made as close as possible to the lump and the lump, together with a surrounding margin of tissue, is removed for examination.… More

  • Breast Cancer Surgery

    This may be:

    Full mastectomy - removes all of the breast tissue from the underlying muscles including the nipple-areolar complex.… More

  • Breast Reconstruction

    When a breast has been removed (mastectomy) because of cancer or other disease, it is possible in some cases to reconstruct a breast similar to a natural breast.… More

Visiting Hours

Visiting hours are 2pm-8pm daily.

Other

  • Operations Manager General Surgery: Kate MacFarlane
  • Personal Assistant Department of General Surgery: Dale Hilton
  • Personal Assistant Operations Mananger and Clinical Director: Marie Brierley
  • Charge Nurse Ward 8: Frances Scherlink
  • Charge Nurse Ward 4: Susan Johnston
  • Colorectal Nurse Specialist:  Karen Pollock/Xu Cui
  • Ostomy Nurse Specialist: Angela Makwana
  • ERAS: Teresa Wingate
  • Breast Nurse Specialists: Marilyn Bellingham, Anne Norris, Christina Taylor
  • Bariatric Nurse Specialist: Bronwen Jones
  • Upper GI Nurse Specialist: Megan Pimm
  • Melanoma Nurse Specialist: Helen Kinchley
  • Nurse Facilitator Discharges: Annette Lovelock
  • Practice Improvement Nurse: Angie Hakiwai

Contact Details

North Shore Hospital

North Auckland

Breast Service: (09) 486 1491 ext 3390

 

Shakespeare Road
Takapuna
Auckland 0620

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Street Address

Shakespeare Road
Takapuna
Auckland 0620

Postal Address

North Shore Hospital
Private Bag 93 503
Takapuna
North Shore City 0740

This page was last updated at 9:32AM on August 16, 2018. This information is reviewed and edited by Waitemata DHB General Surgery Services.