Some health improvements but more still to do

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Health

The Health Dashboard update, released today, shows we are continuing to see demand increase at our public hospitals and in our health system.

The latest data also shows some encouraging improvements to the elective surgery waitlist, from 12,271 in January to 11,618 at the end of May, a decrease of 653, or 5.6 per cent.

However, we must always strive to do better – behind every number is a person requiring care.

That’s why we are delivering a record elective surgery blitz so even more patients get the surgery they need within the clinically recommended time. We will deliver an additional 22,300 elective surgeries and endoscopies and an elective surgery plan is currently under development, in line with our First 100 Day Plan.

The latest Dashboard shows Tasmanian emergency departments have seen 73,781 patients since January, and 7,623 patients have been admitted for elective surgery during that period.

There are now 54,469 people waiting for an outpatient appointment, and while COVID restrictions have had an impact, I acknowledge this is too many, which is why we are implementing a range of initiatives to improve the management of outpatient waiting lists and improve access to outpatient clinics, including:

  • Using telehealth for outpatient appointments for some specialities, improving access to services and reducing the need for patients to travel, particularly from rural and remote areas.
  • A more patient friendly booking system including SMS reminders and confirmation of appointments – making it easier for patients to cancel and rebook appointments and helping to reduce the number of patients who don’t attend appointments.
  • Strengthening referral processes, so outpatient clinics get the information they need, GPs are clear about the information they need to provide and most importantly the patient’s appointment isn’t delayed.

Median ambulance response times have improved from a high of 15 minutes in March 2021 to 13.7 minutes in May 2021. We are continuing to roll-out Secondary Triage, which sees trained paramedics and nurses providing clinical advice to Triple Zero callers, including connecting them to other health services where appropriate, reserving our ambulances and paramedics for emergency situations. Since being introduced, we have, as at June 11, successfully referred approximately 425 callers to alternate care providers, avoiding an emergency ambulance attendance.

It is vital we all work together to implement solutions to the challenges in health, to ensure Tasmanians get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Collaboration requires the sharing of information, as well as ideas, and as an initial step to improving the transparency and currency of health information, this latest Dashboard shows data for March, April and May.

From now on, the Dashboard will be released monthly, meaning in late July, data for June will be made publicly available.

The Dashboard is available at https://www.healthstats.dhhs.tas.gov.au/healthsystem

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