Elective surgery blitz to tackle long waits

Released 25/11/2015

An elective surgery blitz with a target to perform 1000 extra surgeries in six months will greatly reduce the number of long-wait patients in the ACT, Minister for Health Simon Corbell said today.

The government will direct $11.8 million towards the intense surgical effort, which will be carried out in the first half of 2016, in order to reduce the overall number of elective surgery patients waiting longer than clinically recommended.

“The government understands how important it is for people to receive their surgeries within the recommended timeframe and these extra surgeries will help us drastically cut our waiting list,” Mr Corbell said.

“ACT Health established a surgical taskforce to develop strategies to improve theatre utilisation and make better use of the surgical resources available in order to tackle what has been a long-time challenge in the ACT.

“The more than 1000 extra surgeries will be achieved by increasing elective surgery at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital, as well as by utilising private hospitals to undertake elective surgery procedures that cannot be accommodated at the public hospitals.”

There are more than 1200 current long wait elective surgery patients in the ACT, the majority of who are waiting for orthopaedic, urology and ear, nose and throat surgeries.

The long-wait list has reached this level despite significant investment from the ACT Government in elective surgery procedures.  ACT public hospitals provided 11,875 elective surgery procedures in 2014-15, the highest number of elective surgery procedures ever performed in a year and the fifth consecutive year of more than11,000 elective surgeries.

“Despite increasing the number of elective surgeries performed each year the growth in the ACT’s population combined with the ageing population has resulted in increased demand,” Mr Corbell said. 

“Meeting the demand in health services is a major priority for the government and taking these important steps now to reduce our long-wait list will also help improve our ongoing management of waiting lists.

“ACT Health is committed to strategies to stop our waiting lists ever again reaching the position we are in today.  There will be a realignment of territory-wide surgical services to ensure optimal value of theatre utilisation across Canberra, and booking procedures and engagement with surgeons will be reviewed to ensure the longer term sustainability of the system.”

Patients who will receive surgeries as part of the blitz will be contacted by the hospital in due course.

The cost of delivering this strategy will be funded through cross-border revenues in 2015-16, which are expected to exceed budget by the required amount.

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

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