Another department at Dunedin Hospital has to turn away patients due to understaffing, effecting nearly a third of outgoing orthopedic patients.
"Due to a lack of resources about a third of referrals from GPs cannot be seen," says professor of orthopaedic surgery and surgeon Jean-Claude Theis.
"They are returned to their GP without the patient being seen."
Prof Theis says patients need a variety of operations.
"These patients might require joint replacements, they might require other operations but we haven't got the resources to see those patients.
"Over the last couple of months it was about 32 percent of those referrals are not being seen.
Professor Theis says most patients that are referred have come to the end of their treatment with their GP. They are then passed onto orthopaedics' to see if they can be helped by an operation.
He says understaffing isn't a new problem and has been plaguing the hospital for a number of years.
"A few years now [and it is] getting worse," he says.
"We need more staff, we need more orthapedic surgeons, we have been in discussion with the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) now for over a year but we're not getting anywhere.
"We need more surgeons first of all to continue providing the service we've been providing over the last couple of years.
"To do more work in the future we need further staff, at the moment we can barely cope.
"The SDHB is outsourcing 130 orthopaedic operations because we can't do them here."
In October more than 4600 ophthalmology patients were told their consultations would be delayed because of the increase of patients.
SDHB Interim chief executive Chris Fleming says waiting times for patients have increased dramatically.
"With the problem we've uncovered within our system, patients have been waiting up to five times as long as they should be," he says.