Elective Surgery Waiting Times
Across Australia, waiting times for elective surgery are the longest they have ever been. Public hospitals are no longer capable of meeting demand and hidden waiting lists have been found in some states, where people waiting to get onto the general waiting list are not physically counted until they have had their first appointment with a specialist doctor.
Waiting list problems and issues affect all Australian states. Some examples in the past year include:
- A report by O’Connor Marsden & Associates has found systemic manipulation of waiting lists within the Sydney West Area Health Service.
- In Western Australia, the number of people waiting on elective surgery waiting lists in the Great Southern region of WA has increased by 30 per cent.
- In South Australia, patients wait one week longer, on average, for elective surgery than they did 10 years ago. This is exemplified by fact that patients are now waiting 34 days, on average, for elective surgery in 2008-09 as against a 27 day wait 10 years prior.
- Tasmania’s situation is particularly bleak. The proportion of those waiting longer than 365 days for elective surgery is 8.8 per cent. In contrast, just 2.9 per cent of Victorians waited longer than a year for surgery, while only 1.1 per cent of patients in South Australia faced such lengthy waiting times.
- Victoria’s ability to service time to treatment for elective surgery is declining. In 1999, patients would wait, on average, 35 days for semi-urgent surgery. In 2010, that figure stood at 50 days.
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