dashboard shows surgery waiting lists blew out before COVID-19
general surgery waiting list at record high since December
deliver long-term plan beyond pandemic response
Tasmania’s latest elective surgery waiting lists
confirm worsening surgical delays before COVID-19 and the urgent need for a
long-term plan to fix the state’s ailing health system.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said surgery
waiting lists hit another record high in the three months to the end of March –
before the impact of COVID-19 had been felt.
“Tasmania’s elective surgery waiting
lists were already at record high numbers at the end of 2019, with more than
11,100 people waiting for surgery,” Ms Lovell said.
“Now, the latest Tasmanian Health Dashboard shows that trend worsened in the
three months to the end of March, with the waiting list rising by 201 to 11,307
– another record.
“For urgent Category 1 surgeries,
the waiting list rose by 98 to 849, and average overdue waiting times were up
across all categories. Outpatient waiting lists were also up – by 2,501 – to
another record 40,023. And, oral health
waiting lists rose by almost 1,000 to 14,855.
“Worst of all, all but five days of
this data pre-dates the cancellation of Categories 2 and 3 surgery on 26 March.
For the Health Minister to say this latest dashboard shows the anticipated
impact of COVID-19 is disingenuous at best.
“Even though some surgeries have
resumed, these figures mean we can expect much worse figures to come, putting
enormous pressure on the state’s already stretched health system.
“While the government needs to
prioritise the response to the impact of COVID-19, these figures clearly
demonstrate the need for an overarching plan to catch up on the state’s backlog
of surgeries and improve the health system generally.
“Tasmanians have been waiting too
long for surgery and they deserve a comprehensive plan to get them off the
waiting lists and into hospital beds.
“The pandemic demonstrated the
catastrophic consequences of underinvestment in the health system and the need
to upgrade health facilities across the state.
“As a starting point, I urge the
government to consider some of the many ideas contained in Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package, which is designed to get
Tasmanians back into jobs and create a better and fairer Tasmania.
“We have learnt many lessons from COVID-19 – one of the most important is that Tasmanians deserve a properly resourced health system. We need a vision and a plan that delivers for all Tasmanians in both the short and long term.”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Health Minister