Published: 17/04/2003, Volume II3, No. 5851 Page 10

Management of Northern Ireland's operating theatres is in need of an urgent overhaul to improve efficiency, according to the Northern Ireland Audit Office.An investigation found that 37 per cent of the province's operating theatre capacity is going unused at a time when it has some of the highest waiting lists in the UK.Hospitals plan theatre use on labour-intensive, paper-based systems, the report said, and there are no costing information systems.The operating service's 102 theatres in 21 hospitals need effective management structures to develop and implement new policies and guidelines and bring computerised systems into use, says the NIAO.

www. niauditoffice. gov. uk