Elective surgery waiting times decrease slightly

Date: Nov 03, 2015

For most people, any form of surgery is a massive undertaking. Regardless of whether it is elective or life-threatening emergency surgery, we expect doctors to treat us with care and to complete the procedure in a timely fashion.

However, as we all know, the Australian population is growing and this is putting additional pressure on the hospital sector. As a result, there is further scope for medical negligence through poor duty of care or treatment delays.

Mixed hospital results across country

Last month, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released a report around this very topic. Titled Elective surgery waiting times 2014-15: Australian hospital statistics, the figures suggest delays are improving – slightly.

Between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years, the median waiting time dropped from 36 days to 35 days. The AIHW also noted that the number of people waiting for elective surgery for longer than a year fell 1 per cent over the last five years.

What continues to be a concern is the vast gap in waiting times between states. While the median in Queensland is 27 days, Tasmania records a massive 55 days – with all states looking for improvements in the years ahead.

Surgery by surgery statistics

Close to 700,000 Australian undergo elective surgery every year, according to AIHW, requires thousands of different procedures. As such, waiting times will often depend on what surgery they are undergoing.

For example, Ear, nose and throat surgery (73 days), Ophthalmology (70 days), and Orthopaedic surgery (64 days) feature the longest waiting times, while Cardiothoracic surgery had the shortest delay (18 days).

How is NSW performing?

NSW is experiencing a higher number of patients and a report from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI) suggests that, while the state is improving its services, there is plenty of scope for improvement.

BHI Chief Executive, Dr Jean-Frederic Levesque said that wait times were stable based on Q1 statistics. However, 25 per cent of patients are still in NSW emergency departments four hours after arriving.

"Patients who were treated and admitted to a hospital, or treated and transferred to another hospital, after their presentation to the emergency department spent longer there this quarter compared to the same time last year," he said.

Medical negligence by maltreatment

Patients who developed further complications due to their non-treatment could be eligible for medical negligence compensation and are urged to contact a lawyer who can help them with their claim. As medical negligence compensation is a complex situation, it is best to take your claim directly to a lawyer.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.