Hospital Waiting Times Down By 1,300 In 3 Years

Hospital Waiting Times Down By 1,300 In 3 Years

Tasmania Minister for Health Michael Ferguson

Elective Surgery Wait Times Reduced

Victor P Taffa

The State Government has made reducing elective surgery wait times a priority and our One Health System reform is working, with the waiting list at a record low, Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said.

“A total of 6,084 additional elective surgeries have been undertaken in the private sector sooner than otherwise possible, between 2013-2014 and 2015-16, which is reflected in a Right to Information document released today as part of a strategy that has brought the waiting list to record lows.” Mr. Ferguson said.

“In addition to committing an extra $76 Million for elective surgery when we came to Government we have also strategically invested one-off special funding from the Commonwealth and we are working better with private hospitals, which Labor strangely opposed.”

“Unlike Labor and the Greens we are not ideologically opposed to using the private sector to ensure Tasmanians get their surgery sooner.”

“Labor’s Rebecca White is clearly confused and is hedging her political bets. In August 2014, Labor called for us to invest in the state’s public hospitals so surgeries could be performed ‘immediately’, then in January this year she repeated the same criticism, irresponsibly pushing for unsustainable staffing at our hospitals.” Mr. Ferguson said.

“In the same statement she also criticised us for meeting our responsibility under the state-federal agreed action plan to establish the private provider panel but not yet using it to perform procedures.”

Numbers of Tasmanians getting their surgery in the private sector has consistently increased over the years from 2013 -2014.

“While the Labor-Green Government did very little to address the blow out in wait times, with it ballooning to 7,200 at the end of August, 2013 we have been able to reduce that to just over 5,900 by the end of August, 2016. The lowest since records have been kept.” Mr. Ferguson said.

Of the nearly 19,000 elective surgeries performed, fewer than 3,500 elective surgery patients were seen in the private sector in the last financial year. Of these, fewer than 400 had their surgery in Melbourne.

Numbers of overall procedures undertaken in the past three years has also increased markedly, by utilising the facilities available in the private sector.

Tasmanians should not be forced to wait unnecessarily if there are the resources available elsewhere in the state to do their surgery.

“The Government has taken the lead in addressing the blowout in surgery wait times, which is a key aspect of our One Health system reforms and ensuring more Tasmanians get the surgery they need sooner.” Mr. Ferguson said.