Waikato Hospital as seen over lake Rotoroa

This is a summary of training at Waikato Hospital and the Midland Rotation, as our trainees see it.  This is an excerpt from "Anaesthesia Training In New Zealand Made Easy", written by the ANZCA New Zealand Trainee Committee:


Waikato is the main hospital in the Midland Rotation, providing tertiary services to a large geographical area in the central North Island.  Trainees may rotate for one year to Rotorua Hospital or two years to Tauranga, but will return to Waikato for rotation through specialist services. Waikato DHB is a large 600 bed tertiary hospital providing a wide range of clinical experience to trainees.

The anaesthetic department is busy, friendly and academic.  We have approximately 60 consultant anaesthetists and 43 trainees.

The clinical experience here is wide and the case mix load is extremely varied. IT and BT trainees will be allocated to lists with level one supervision and more experienced trainees will be assigned lists with level 2 and eventually level 3 supervision.

Module allocation is done by the SOTs and then the allocations are given to the rosterers who assign lists. Some modules are “protected” meaning that during this time there will be no afternoon or night shifts.

There are also allocations to the inpatient pain service and the Anaesthetic Assessment Clinic.

Senior registrars will be allocated to the Block (regional anaesthetic) service.

Level of supervision

Waikato DHB is an extremely supportive department and level of supervision is reflected in the level of the trainee as above.

Roster outline

Day shifts: 7.30am to 5:30pm.

Evening shifts: 4:30pm to 11:30pm.

Weekday night shifts: 11pm to 8am.

Weekend day shifts: 8am to 9pm.

Weekend night shifts: 9pm to 8am.

Theatres routinely run 8am to 4:30pm for elective daytime work.

You can expect one to two periods of out of hours work in a calendar month.  On evenings (4:30pm to 11:30pm) and weekends (8am to 9pm) there are two registrars rostered to main theatre and one registrar to obstetrics.  Overnight there is one registrar in main theatre and one in obstetrics.  Consultants are on site until 9pm and on-call from home overnight.  Overnight there are four consultants on call (first, second, third and fourth on call) including a paediatric, cardiac, and obstetric anaesthetist. SMOs are very amenable to being contacted to attend overnight.

SSU and VOP opportunities and WBAs to achieve

There is ample opportunity to meet all SSU and VOP requirements in Waikato.

Teaching and exam preparation

There are extremely well run exam preparation programmes for Part 1 (Tuesday afternoon) and Part 2 (Wednesday afternoon) exams and this time is protected.  Trainees based at Tauranga and Rotorua Hospitals travel to Waikato for these teaching sessions.

There are regular simulation sessions at the Waikato Simulation Centre and Thursday is set aside for practical skills teaching sessions (ALS, paediatric life support, CICO, echo, fibreoptic, and other airway skills).

Once a month there is a CME and M&M meeting for the department. This is an opportunity to discuss difficult cases and present audit projects.  Following these there is a registrar meeting to discuss any issues and feedback to the consultant group.

There is a monthly Journal Club, often held at consultant homes, and there is an informal roster for registrar presentations at this.  Registrars of all levels are expected to present at least once a year.

Scholar role opportunities

All Scholar Role activities can be met at Waikato.

General tips

The Waikato Anaesthetic Department is made up of friendly and approachable SMOs who foster an extremely collegial atmosphere. Clinical work and opportunity is extremely varied here and enthusiasm and willingness to get involved will be rewarded with excellent training and learning opportunities.