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Introducing This Page

Following your appointment in Outpatients (OPD) with a surgeon patients requiring surgery will be placed on the surgical waiting list. This page will inform you of procedures leading up to your visit to our surgery and anything else useful to know about.

About our Surgical Ward (Barclay Ward)

Care at Grey Base Hospital is provided in Barclay ward for acute and elective patients in Orthopaedics, Urology, Plastics, Gynaecology and General Surgery.

We have 28 beds and use an interdisciplinary approach to provide optimal care and thus ensure that patients are returned to maximal functioning as quickly as possible. Alongside inpatient facilities, we have an eight bed day stay unit, which also caters for a variety of surgical specialties.

We have a solid team of nurses who through many years of experience provide a high level of care in all specialties. We also utilise the skills of the allied health professionals who make up our team.

We have a developing core of preceptors who enjoy guiding new staff and students, with students coming regularly from the Christchurch Polytechnic and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. Due to the diversity of the surgeries here, new staff have the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills backed up by educational opportunities. The strong rural flavour of our nursing care also means that staff have unique opportunities to gain the skills required in our setting which are also highly transferable to other locations.

Operating Theatres

Our commitment is to provide high quality, safe care to our patients in a modern well equipped environment.

Our experienced theatre staff strive to provide the best clinical practice from three spacious theatre suites (with the world's best views!), endoscopy suite and a post anaesthetic care unit. Surgery includes General, Urology, Orthopaedic, Lithotripsy, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Plastics, Paediatrics and Dental services.

Our team consists of Registered Nurses and one Enrolled Nurse who are multi-skilled and work in all surgery disciplines, 2 PACU, and Anaesthetic Technicians. We welcome new graduates, Registered Nurses and students into our unit.

General Surgery

At present there are four consultant General Surgeons working either full-time or part-time, and they are supported by a surgical Resident Medical Officer, surgical inpatient and outpatient nursing staff and administrative support.

Outpatient clinics are held in Greymouth and peripheral clinics are held in Hokitika, Westport and Reefton. The department also provides an upper and a lower GIU endoscopy service to the West Coast region. Close links are maintained with the tertiary referral hospital in Christchurch and patients are referred for both outpatient and inpatient services. A wide range of elective surgical procedures performed on patients are referred to Christchurch for sub-specialist procedures in vascular, colorectal, hepatobiliary, plastics, neuro and thoracic surgery.

Department audits and peer reviews are held on a regular basis and the surgical department also contributes to and attends hospital clinical meetings.

Emergency on-call is on a 1:3 or 1:4 roster with consultants expected to be within 10-15 minutes of the hospital when on call.


The team of four specialist Anaesthetists is involved in all types of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care, resuscitation and the treatment of acute pain and labour pain, including a 24 hour epidural service. Tertiary level is provided at Christchurch for cardiothoracic, neurosurgery and neonatal services.

The Anaesthesia department also has four fully trained Anaesthetic Technicians. All Anaesthetic care is a team approach, giving anaesthesia in New Zealand a world envied safety record. Pre anaesthetic clinics are held in Greymouth and Westport. Working with the Anaesthetist is our pre assessment Nurse who is highly skilled and a valued team member.


Treatment of Deformities, Diseases and injuries of the bones, joints and muscles

The orthopaedic service has one permanent staff member and a mix of visiting specialists from both New Zealand and overseas.

Both elective and acute surgery is undertaken.  The service provides latest techniques, including hip resurfacing procedures and hip arthroscopy.  This is a generalist orthopaedic service with some services being provided by visiting specialists, e.g. back problems.

Regular audits are undertaken at a combined meeting with Canterbury and South Canterbury colleagues.  This provides an opportunity to discuss issues and meet colleagues. 

Junior doctors have the opportunity to work alongside the surgeons, both in theatre and outpatient clinics and this provides excellent learning opportunities for them.  

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

High Quality service to the Women of the West Coast

The department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology is a small vital unit of three Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that aims to provide a high quality service to the women of the West Coast.

We relish the challenge of providing maternity and gynaecological care for women spread over a distance greater than that from Auckland to Wellington! Our maternity care involves the delivery of normal pregnancies, assisted vaginal deliveries and caesarean sections.  This involves some 360 deliveries a year - a small proportion of high risk pregnancies are referred to Christchurch Women’s Hospital.  We provide general gynaecological services including urogynaecology, preliminary infertility services, and colposcopy.

We have a modern well appointed theatre suite, outpatient clinics and maternity areas. We have excellent relationships with our General Practitioners, hospital and community based Midwives and Nurse Practitioners. The unit participates in the weekly hospital continuing medical education programmes, the hospital monthly morbidity and mortality meetings, monthly caesarean section review meetings, and monthly departmental meetings.

We are supported by modern ultrasound services both within and outside the department. A recently introduced digital radiology service allows electronic viewing of images. The recent introduction of a windows based patient management system has opened up tremendous potential for the electronic integration of case notes, general practitioner notes, laboratory and radiology findings.

The department reaches decisions by consensus and each member feels the obligation to fully participate in the range of clinical and administrative decisions. As a small unit we are able to be innovative and work efficiently and effectively.

Waiting List

How long is the wait?

If after you have been seen at Outpatients you require surgery you will be placed on the surgical waiting list. Once on there you may have to wait from up to one week to six months, depending on your need for surgery.

Before Arriving for your Surgery

Letter of Notification

When it is time for your surgery a letter of notification will be sent to you providing you with a date and requesting confirmation that you will be able to attend. Other information sent to you will be if you are required to attend a pre-anaesthetic clinic, a time will be given for this and if any other preparation is required for surgery (e.g. bowel prep).

Special Requirements

You may be required to attend the pre-anaesthetic clinic and have some standard tests (e.g. blood, x-rays and ECG) before a booking is made for your surgery.

Preparing for the Surgery Visit

What to Take and not to Take

For surgery you will be required to be Nil by Mouth, information will be given to you, so you know when to stop eating and drinking and if you are required to stop taking your medication (e.g. aspirin).

Where to go

Please report at the Admission desk right opposite Grey Base Hospital's main entrance. The attendant there will be glad to point you in the right direction after getting some details from you.

During The stay

Preparing for the Surgery Procedure

On the day of surgery following admission to the ward or day surgery unit you will be changed into a gown. You may also be required to wear TED (support) stockings (to help prevent clots forming). The nurse will check with you that all the paperwork is correct and you have signed a consent form. Make sure the staff are aware of any allergies you may have (e.g. to medication or latex).

Theatre will signal staff via phonecall when they are ready for you. Remember not everyone can be first on the list, so you may be required to wait.

Transfer to the Theatre Department

The nurse will walk with you around to the theatre department. If you have had any medication you will be wheeled around on a bed.

On arriving in the theatre department you will be greeted by the theatre staff, from then on you are never left alone.

In Theatre

Once in theatre everything will be explained to you. You will be required to have an IV line inserted and to breathe in oxygen via a clear mask as you go off to sleep. (Note: Please inform the staff if you have a needle phobia or a fear of the mask.)

After your Surgery

Following surgery you will wake in Recovery (the wake-up room). You will have an oxygen mask on and blood pressure cuff. Staff will check your wound and see if you require pain relief.

The ward nurse will come to collect you when it is time for you to return to the ward.


We strive to ensure that our patients are happy with their visit and care.

If at any stage you have any concerns or any feedback about your visit please let us know. While at the hospital, you can speak with the clinic staff or you can telephone or write to the Waiting List Co-ordinator or clinic after you have left the hospital.