Surgery wait­ing times soar

Narrogin Observer - - Observer News -

The num­ber of West Aus­tralians wait­ing for elec­tive surgery is con­tin­u­ing to climb, with the State Gov­ern­ment con­ced­ing it will take time to cor­rect the up­ward trend.

Fig­ures for the end of March, only weeks af­ter La­bor won of­fice, show 19,932 pub­lic pa­tients were wait­ing for op­er­a­tions in WA hos­pi­tals, an in­crease on the 19,774 peo­ple wait­ing a month ear­lier.

It was the sec­ond-high­est num­ber on record de­spite more surgery be­ing done, sug­gest­ing pa­tient de­mand is con­tin­u­ing to out­strip re­sources.

Of those wait­ing at the end of March, 1242 peo­ple, or 6.2 per cent, were wait­ing longer than med­i­cally ad­vis­able, in­clud­ing 124 cat­e­gory ones, the most ur­gent pa­tients.

Peo­ple on the list had been wait­ing an av­er­age of 67 days, com­pared to 82 days in Fe­bru­ary and 62 last March.

Med­i­cal spe­cial­ties with the high­est num­ber of de­layed cases were urol­ogy, plas­tic surgery and ear, nose and throat surgery.

The ma­jor hos­pi­tals most strug- gling to op­er­ate on pa­tients within the rec­om­mended times in March were Fiona Stan­ley, with 68 per cent of pa­tients ad­mit­ted op­er­ated on within time and Royal Perth (73 per cent).

The best per­former was Princess Mar­garet Hospi­tal, where only one child who had elec­tive surgery in March waited longer than rec­om­mended.

Health Min­is­ter Roger Cook, a strong critic of the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of elec­tive surgery, said his Gov­ern­ment was com­mit­ted to build­ing a sus­tain­able, world-class health sys­tem.

Mr Cook said health care needed to be more in­no­va­tive and in­te­grated, and its pro­posed medi­ho­tels were part of the so­lu­tion. Other elec­tion com­mit­ments such as ur­gent-care clin­ics were needed to break down bar­ri­ers be­tween pri­mary, sec­ondary and ter­tiary care.

The Gov­ern­ment is yet to do a widerang­ing re­view of health ser­vices, in­clud­ing de­ter­min­ing fur­ther re­de­vel­op­ment of Royal Perth Hospi­tal.

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