Tailoring healthcare for adolescents

Wednesday, 7 October 2015 by Helen King


Auckland based laparoscopic surgeon, James Hamill, is passionate about youth and adolescent health.

Having trained in adult general and trauma surgery, and paediatric surgery James believes it is important to consider potential impacts of treatment when caring for his patients.

“The type of investigations can differ between young and old, for example, you may not choose to send a young person in their teens or early twenties for a CT scan and expose them to the radiation,” James explains.

Surgical options can also be different for young people.

“Minimally invasive surgery is important for young people, not only because it enhances recovery but also young people don’t have to carry large scars for the rest of their life,” he adds.

Although young people often don’t have many health issues, James cautions the challenges facing our health system, including an aging population, can mean their needs aren’t prioritised.

“There needs to be an advocate for youth, they need to have a voice,” he explains.

Southern Cross Health Society Affiliated Provider

James has enjoyed the benefits of being a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider since 2014. Affiliated Provider arrangements give certainty of potential co-payments for Southern Cross members and James likes the financial peace of mind his patients receive.

“This is especially true for the younger people and young families I see. They don’t often have the disposable income of the baby boomers, so knowing they don’t need to worry about payment upfront is great.”

“Having health issues can be stressful so having a system in place where my patients know the financial side of things is taken care of is enormously beneficial,” he explains.

Another benefit for Southern Cross members seeking treatment through an Affiliated Provider is the prior approval process is taken care of on their behalf.

“I know with my Southern Cross patients the paperwork is all taken care of when it comes time to arrange a prior approval. It eases the pressure because there’s one less thing to worry about,” James says.

Pain research

An honorary senior lecturer in surgery at the University of Auckland, James is currently working toward a PhD. His research examines how to enhance recovery and making operations less painful. Titled SPRAY trial (sprayed peritoneal regional analgesia in appendectomy) he is investigating whether local anaesthetic sprayed onto the peritoneum, compared to saline, reduces post-operative pain in children undergoing laparoscopic appendectomy for suspected acute appendicitis.

Private referrals

James accepts General Surgery referrals for children and adults. As a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider he is contracted for a range of General Surgery procedures including laparoscopic cholecystectomy, inguinal, umbilical, and femoral hernia repair.

He can be contacted on 09 524 4333.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article are those of the individual identified and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Cross Medical Care Society.