Thousands of South Australians awaiting elective surgery are set to benefit from a $20 million investment in the upcoming State Budget 2021-22 to help reduce wait times and ease pressure on our public hospitals, following the disruption of COVID.
The funding will be specifically targeted towards those surgeries and procedures where the greatest impact on wait times will be achieved and will utilise both public and private hospital services.
It is estimated that the investment will enable up to 3000 elective surgeries and 1000 colonoscopies to be undertaken next financial year.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said that while good progress was being made on reducing the overdue wait lists for elective surgery and colonoscopies, the COVID-19 pandemic had interrupted these efforts – with two complete shutdowns of elective surgery last year.
“Since coming to Government, we have been focused on driving down the number of people waiting for elective surgeries longer than clinically recommended, and we continue to make progress in this area,” said Minister Wade.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly slowed these efforts, in recent months we have begun to make real progress in reducing the backlog. This $20 million injection of additional funding will fast-track these efforts.
“Reducing the waiting time for patients who require elective surgery is a major priority for the Government and we are determined to help South Australians get off the overdue list and receive the health care they need.”
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade confirmed work is underway to maximise the impact of this investment.
“We know that public hospitals around the country are experiencing a surge of pressure on their emergency departments, and that this often has a knock-on effect for other parts of our hospital system, including elective surgery,” said Minister Wade.
“This investment will have the added benefit of reducing pressures on our public hospitals while allowing us to continue to drive down elective surgery wait times.
“I expect a significant portion of this new funding would pay for surgery and other procedures to be undertaken by private providers sourced through the Patient Services Panel established in 2019.
“The Patient Services Panel has proven to be an extremely effective way to increase public patient access to vital, life-saving surgery and treatments.
“Over the last two years, the panel has enabled 5,691 public patients to get off the waiting list much sooner than would have otherwise been the case.
“The Panel’s work supports public patients to access services they need earlier through one of 20private providers at no cost to the patient. This coordinated approach reduces waiting times for procedures, helps ease pressure on our public hospitals and maximises taxpayer dollars.”