Overdue elective surgery waitlist slashed

The number of South Australian patients overdue for elective surgery has been slashed by more than two-thirds thanks to the Marshall Liberal Government’s $45 million commitment to reduce elective surgery wait times.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said South Australians waiting for surgery are being seen sooner thanks to the new strategy.

“In just four months, 1,293 people have come off the overdue elective surgery waitlist,” Minister Wade said.

“As of 21 July, there were 615 patients remaining on the overdue list, down 68 per cent from 1908 on 20 March.

“Across South Australia, we have just three per cent of people overdue for elective surgery.

“We’re making sure that our services deliver better value for the taxpayer dollar, but more importantly, we’re making sure South Australians aren’t waiting to receive the care they need.

“The former Labor Government allowed elective surgery waiting times to blow out. At the election, this government committed $45m over two years to bring down elective surgery wait times. Labor did not one commit $1.

“Since our funding started rolling out, the elective surgery overdue waitlists across all metropolitan hospitals have significantly dropped and elective surgery wait times have significantly improved.”

The strategies being rolled out across metropolitan Local Health Networks include running additional surgery sessions with extra staff and transferring lower risk cases to private providers.

Speaking at Flinders Medical Centre today, Minister Wade said the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN) had performed particularly well, providing additional surgeries both at Flinders Medical Centre and at Noarlunga Hospital.

“As of March 2019, 402 people were overdue on the waiting list at SALHN, with all of those patients receiving their elective surgery by 30 June,” Minister Wade said.

“These outstanding results would not have been achieved without the commitment of the entire Network, which saw clinicians, nurses, administration, allied health and theatre booking staff all work together to improve waiting times and outcomes for patients.

“While the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) still has approximately 500 elective patients overdue, approximately 150 of those patients have already been given a date for surgery.

“Several initiatives are currently underway in CALHN to achieve a significant reduction in overdue patients by the end of September.”

Head of Urology at SALHN, Dr Michael Chong said each year more than 13,880 patients have elective surgery at Flinders Medical Centre and Noarlunga Hospital.

“We have performed an extra 511 surgeries at our sites on 140 additional scheduled lists,” Dr Chong said.

“We’re incredibly proud that we have managed to meet our targets primarily in-house, with 104 patients receiving their surgeries in the private sector. Eighty-four of those patients still had their post and pre-operative care carried out at SALHN.

“Complex elective patients such as those needing neurosurgery or ear, nose and throat surgeries have remained at Flinders and Noarlunga to be treated.”

SA Health will continue to explore increasing the number of surgeries carried out at country and peri-urban hospitals and transferring suitable patients between public hospitals that may have a shorter waiting list to ensure overdue numbers remain low and stable.

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