The length of time Tasmanians are waiting to see a specialist so they can get necessary surgery has blown out to an unacceptable level with many patients being left languishing for years.
Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said the release today of the Gutwein Government’s own data showed the average wait time across all categories to access an outpatient appointment has blown out to 469 days, up from 396 days just a year ago.
Tasmanians waiting for category one outpatient appointments in Hobart will wait 255 days while those in category three will be forced to wait 554 days – over a year.
Ms Dow said the situation is even worse in Launceston where category three patients wait 772 days – or more than two years.
“This is the hidden elective surgery wait list – the list to get on the elective surgery list – and it’s outrageous,” Ms Dow said.
The release today of the Liberal Government’s health dashboard data comes at the same time the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report showing Tasmania has the worst wait time for elective surgeries in the country with close to 20 per cent of patients waiting more than 365 days, compared to 7.6 per cent Australia wide. That means Tasmanians are three times more likely to wait over a year for surgery than our mainland counterparts.
“The government cannot blame these disturbing numbers on COVID because this data is from 2020-2021 when Tasmania primarily had no COVID cases,” Ms Dow said.
“During the same period – during their heaviest lockdowns – Victoria had only a five per cent wait over 365 days, and NSW 11.4 per cent.
“Tasmania has the longest wait times for cardio-thoracic surgery, general surgery, gynaecological surgery, neurosurgery, orthopaedic and paediatric surgery.
“Despite the Gutwein Government making lofty election promises to do more, little has changed for Tasmanians and it’s a disgrace that our elective surgery wait times are the worst in the country.
“Tasmanians continue to pay the price for this government’s neglect of our health system.”
Anita Dow MP
Shadow Health Minister