Elective Surgery


Elective services at the Bay of Plenty District Board Health follow Ministry of Health guidelines.

The Ministry of Health defines elective services as hospital services for people who do not need immediate medical treatment. If you are very ill and require emergency treatment you will be treated with minimal delay.

At present the maximum waiting time for elective services is four months. We will contact you to call us to arrange an appointment time that is mutually agreeable. This appointment will be for you to see a Specialist at either Tauranga or Whakatāne Hospital.

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This section contains information about how the Bay of Plenty District Health Board is managing Elective Services including access to services, numbers waiting and other Elective Services information.

RememberNote Click here to see what to remember for your appointment

What can I expect?

  • Clarity
    You will receive information about assessment and treatment options and whether or not they will be available to you.
  • Timelines
    You will know within 10 working days whether you will receive access to assessment or treatment.  If assessment or treatment is offered to you, you will receive it within the next four months.
  • Fairness
    Your level of need will be assessed in comparison with other people with similar conditions.


How do I get an assessment?

If you have a condition that you think may require assessment or treatment you should first contact your primary care practitioner.  Your primary care practitioner might include your general practitioner (GP), nurse practitioner, Māori health provider or physiotherapist. They will assess your condition and discuss the best option with you, including whether to refer you to a hospital specialist.

If you are referred and accepted by a specialist you will be given an appointment within four months of acceptance.  Your primary care practitioner will care for you whilst you are waiting for your specialist appointment.  If during this time, your condition worsens you should make contact with your primary care practitioner.


What does the specialist do?

The hospital specialist will make an assessment of your condition and determine the best option of care for you.

If, based on your level of need, publicly funded elective services are not available to you at this time; your primary care practitioner will care for you.  The specialist will provide you and your primary care practitioner with information on the outcome of your assessment.

If public treatment is available you will be told that you:

  • Have a confirmed treatment date within the next four months, or
  • Will receive treatment within four months and you will be given the treatment date closer to the time of treatment.


How long will I have to wait for treatment?

Some patients need treatment more urgently than others.  For example, people suffering from severe pain would generally be treated more quickly than a person with occasional discomfort.

If you are offered publicly funded hospital treatment, you will receive it within four months of being deemed fit for treatment following a preassessment (health check) appointment. The preassessment appointment could be by phone or in clinic. 

We will contact you as soon as an appointment for treatment is available for you. This appointment will be for you to see a Specialist at either Tauranga or Whakatāne Hospital.


Why is treatment not always available?

Spending on elective services in public hospitals has to be balanced with other health priorities such as maternity services, subsidised drugs and accident and emergency care.

Public hospitals have a set amount of funding for elective treatments. Community demand for public hospital services is often greater than the ability of the hospital to meet that demand.  Public hospitals need to treat those with the greatest need first, so that fair and consistent decisions are made within the health resources available.

Click here to view our elective services referral criteria details.

Will my GP know the results of my visit to the specialist?

Yes. Your primary care practitioner will be told your results and whether you have been booked for treatment.


What other options are available to me?

There may be a range of services available to you, depending on your particular circumstances.  This may include returning to your primary care practitioner for advice on suitable alternatives.


What if I (or my primary care practitioner) do not agree with what has been decided?

Talk to your primary care practitioner.  You may ask for an explanation or a second opinion.


What do I do if my condition worsens?

If at any time your condition worsens, you should see your primary care practitioner. They will seek a specialist reassessment if they think your condition has changed. This reassessment may include a review of your priority for treatment.


What are my rights?

Under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer's Rights, you have the right to be treated fairly, consistently, and to an appropriate standard.  If you feel you have been treated unfairly, or wish to make a complaint, you have rights under the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994.


Click on the links below for more information:

HealthDisabilityCommissioner  MOHLogo 
 Health & Disability Commissioner's website  Ministry of Health website
Last updated: July 16, 2020