Comparative study on operation theatre facility utilization in government hospitals and semi-government hospitals


  • E. K. Wellala Deputy Director, Negombo General Hospital
  • G. S. K. Dharmaratne Director of Healthcare Quality and Safety, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka


The operation theatre (OT) complex is a costly component of a hospital budget expenditure. This area of hospital activity requires maximum utilization to ensure optimum cost-benefit ratio. Two tertiary care centers in the Colombo district, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH), the only semi-government tertiary care center in Sri Lanka, and Colombo South Teaching Hospital (CSTH) providing similar service delivery to government hospitals were studied to compare utilization patterns. The results showed no significant statistical difference in average per-bed utilization of SJGH and CSTH (P=0.499). The average per-bed utilization rate at CSTH was 23.26%, and SJGH was 25.66%. There was a significant statistical difference in the average per-bed capacity utilization of operating theaters at CSTH and SJGH. The average per bed capacity utilization time per day was significantly higher at SJGH (P=0.040). The average per-bed capacity utilization rate at CSTH was 11.63% and 15.2% at SJGH. According to the Consultants' perception of the importance of factors affecting utilization, less significance is given to time management and related administrative functions even though they have the highest correlation to utilization factors. Utilization observed at both hospitals was lower than the global benchmark between 70% and 80%. The study identified the importance of factors affecting utilization towards human resource availability, motivation, training needs and equipment, and resource availability. Surgeons have given less priority to time management and related administrative functions though the literature suggests time management and relative administratively modifiable factors as the most critical factors. (Gupta, 2011). Therefore, it is recommended to address the factors such as “cancellation of planned surgeries”, “accurate prediction of procedure times in scheduling theatre lists”, “convenient theater time schedules with other clinical work”, “patient turn over time”, and “patient transport time from wards” as they can result in overall improvement in operating facility utilization.    

KEYWORDS:    Utilisation, Operation Theater, Government hospital, Semi-Government Hospital