Choosing the right facility

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Where you have your surgical procedure is very important.  In the same way as you make sure your surgeon is fully qualified and trained to perform the procedure, you also need to check that the facility is fully equipped and accredited.  There is a great deal of confusion around some of the options presented to patients as part of their surgical care.

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Hospitals vs Private Rooms

Many surgeons perform surgery in a private hospital but there are some who will operate in their own private rooms.  Hospitals should be state and federally licensed to operate, they should also be certified against The National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS).  Private rooms often do not have this form of license or accreditation and therefore may not be able to provide adequate support in the case of emergency.  So the questions you should be asking are:

    • Where is the surgery performed?
    • Does the hospital hold a State Licence and is it Accredited, or will your surgery take place in your surgeons rooms.  (Consulting room often do not have appropriate equipment or adequate drugs to handle medical emergencies).
    • Will the surgery be performed under sedation or general anaesthetic?
    • Is there a qualified anaesthetist present or is the Surgeon managing your anaesthetic as well as your surgery?

Will qualified nurses be taking care of you post operatively or will you be left unsupervised as you recover from your anaesthetic?

Answering these questions should reassure you both the surgeon and the facility can manage any unexpected situations and significantly reduce the risk of your surgery.

Day Stay vs Overnight

The world is moving towards to ‘shorter stay’ surgery but is this really what we want as patients?  Certainly some surgeries are minor, require simple anaesthetic and minimal recovery, these surgeries are well suited to a ‘day stay’ procedure.  However the issue faced by these facilities is the ‘what if’.

  • What if the patient does not recover well from surgery?
  • What if the patient is nauseous after surgery?
  • What if the patient cannot cope with the pain of the surgery?
  • What if something happens in theatre which may delay the recovery of the patient?

Surgery should only be performed in a day case facility if the hospital has the ability to keep the patient overnight or transfer them to a private licensed hospital.  The patient should be made aware of any costs incurred if this is required.

Some surgeons prefer to perform a majority of their procedures as a day stay, at CAPS we believe in providing an overnight stay.  We want our patients to take their time to rest and recover.   It also provides us an opportunity to ensure their pain relief and post op nausea (if present) is well controlled before being discharged to the care of their family or friends.

The Downsides of Overseas Surgery

A nice hospital in a holiday destination that is cheap looks tempting.  But you really don’t know what is going to be happening to you once you are anaesthetised.  There are many risks associated with surgery and to believe “it won’t happen to you’ may be the biggest mistake you make.  There may be language barriers, you run the risk of having inferior implants not approved in this county inserted or being left with results that do not meet your expectations.  Once you leave the country you opportunity to address these issues is limited and may be expensive to fix in Australia.

Surgery without accountability is good for the surgeon but not so good for the patient.


Surgery without accountability is good for the surgeon but not so good for the patient.

Dr Alastair Taylor (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery | Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons | MED1401767)

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