Cape Town - The long wait for life-changing paediatric procedures is being shortened thanks to an initiative by the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.The annual Weekend Waiting List Initiative aims to ensure that an extra day is added to the hospital’s operating schedule.This would significantly decrease waiting lists for general paediatric surgery; ear, nose and throat surgery; magnetic resonance imaging; and orthopaedic surgery. Started in 2011, almost 500 little patients had been helped to date. By reducing the large volumes of relatively minor cases, more complex cases could be attended to during the week, the Western Cape health department said in a statement. Donors funded the weekend surgeries."Performing these intricate, time-consuming operations often leads to the cancellation of many of the patients with minor surgical conditions due to time constraints and pressure on beds," said Red Cross medical manager Dr Anita Parbhoo.The delay of these surgeries could lead to more serious medical complications that would require more complex care, admission, and additional outpatient visits. The day surgery unit, which was not used on weekends, was used for the project to ensures there was no negative impact on other patients who needed beds.