PCH surgery $1.7m aid
AN extra $1.7 million will be spent on fast-tracking hundreds of operations at Perth Children’s Hospital in a bid to get its surgery wait list under control.
Figures released this week show almost one in 10 elective surgery patients at the $1.2 billion hospital are waiting too long for their operation.
The delays have prompted the McGowan Government to launch a “waitlist reduction strategy” just seven months after opening PCH.
From next month, $1.7 million will be spent on extra theatre sessions to allow 400 additional surgery cases over the next five months.
At the end of December there were 2541 children queuing for surgery at PCH, a 13.5 per cent increase compared with one year ago at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Of these, 242 patients were “over boundary”, meaning they were waiting longer than medically recommended. There was only one over-boundary case at PMH a year ago.
Australian Medical Association WA president Dr Omar Khorshid said it was a worrying trend and showed not enough surgery was being done at the new hospital.
“They have had six months and the situation is getting worse. It’s time they do something about it,” he said.
The growing wait list at PCH is being replicated at many of WA’s hospitals.
There were 24,552 cases on the State-wide waitlist last month, an increase of 11.7 per cent on 12 months ago. Of these, 1633 cases were over boundary.
The biggest year-on-year rises were at St John of God Midland (up 42 per cent), King Edward Memorial (up 42 per cent), Peel Health Campus (up 31 per cent), Joondalup Health Campus (up 19 per cent), Sir Charles Gairdner (up 16 per cent) and Fremantle (up 14 per cent).
Health Minister Roger Cook said the move to PCH required a reduction in surgery before and after the relocation.
“The decrease and increase are gradual and allow for vital education and training of surgeons and other theatre staff in their new operating environment,” he said.
“Whilst demand for elective surgery has been growing the current increase in over-boundary elective surgery cases at the PCH has been directly precipitated by the move from PMH.”
Mr Cook said over-boundary cases would be the focus of the waitlist reduction strategy.
“In the middle of last year, I asked all health service providers to implement specific strategies to address the elective surgery waitlists. I’m pleased to report that in general these strategies are working,” he said. “In 2017-18, WA recorded the second-lowest median waiting time (39 days) for reportable elective surgery in Australia.”