True to form and displaying its determined commitment to secrecy, the Gutwein Government is yet again keeping critical data about the Tasmanian health system – and particularly elective surgery waiting lists – hidden.
Shadow Health Minister Sarah Lovell said the government had once again broken its commitment to update the Health System Dashboard each quarter.
She challenged Health Minister Sarah Courtney to update the data today to give Tasmanians a clear picture of the true extent of the crisis in the health system now that new information is almost two weeks overdue.
“The data posted on the Dashboard on September 25 last year was from the June 2020 quarter and showed the number of Tasmanians languishing on elective surgery waiting lists was 11,342,” Ms Lovell said.
“Ms Courtney has broken her commitment to provide an update – which was due at Christmas – and today she must either deliver or explain why not.
“Time and again this Health Minister, her predecessor and the government have wilfully delayed or withheld this crucial information because the Gutwein Government is far more dedicated to secrecy than it is to giving Tasmanians a true picture of what is happening in the state’s hospitals.
“Tasmanians need to know how many people are waiting for surgery. They need to know how long the wait times are and they need to know how many people have been removed from the waiting lists.
“They need to know how many Tasmanians seeking treatment in emergency departments are being seen within recommended time frames.
“Last September’s data showed the average wait time for surgery was 87 days, only 49 per cent of elective surgery patients were seen within recommended timeframes and contained other crucial information such as the oral health waiting list which was almost 15,400.
“Even before the COVID pandemic the state’s health system was stretched to capacity. Is it a fact that these numbers have become even worse and the plain truth is Ms Courtney is determined that the latest data will be kept under wraps?”
Sarah Lovell MLC
Shadow Minister for Health