More than 1,100 patients in Mackay are set to benefit from the Government’s elective surgery blitz, announced earlier this month to get non-urgent surgery schedules back on track.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said Queensland Health suspended non-urgent elective surgery following the Prime Minister’s directive to halt all non-urgent procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Miles said it was critical to concentrate all necessary resources on keeping Queenslanders safe.
“We were incredibly lucky that Mackay was largely spared from the effects of the pandemic, with the area only reporting around 15 of Queensland’s 1066 cases in the last six months,” Mr Miles said.
“Still, we had to prepare for the worst-case scenarios that we have seen play out in China, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Now, we’re in the very fortunate position of focusing on recovery.
“We know that for our regions that is a particularly important step.
“Access to care is critical for a state as decentralised as ours, and this money will be invested in our regions as well as our cities.”
Mr Miles said that prior to the pandemic, the majority of Queenslanders were receiving their elective surgery within clinically recommended timeframes, with 94% of Category One, Two and Three patients operated on within the ‘clinically appropriate time’.
Category One surgeries – elective procedures for Queenslanders needing urgent care – remained steady during the pandemic, with approximately 4,000 category one patients seen each month, he said.
“As of 1 June, there were 52,240 patients ready for their surgery on elective surgery lists – more than 90% of those were waiting within clinically recommended timeframes.”
“However, our modelling indicates that we could potentially have more than 7,000 people waiting longer than clinically recommended by 1 July 2020 as a result of the pandemic.”
He said that around 20% of those were projected to come from the North Queensland region.
Mr Miles said hospitals would move to provide non-urgent procedures outside of regular hours.
Member for Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert said that after recommencing non-urgent activity in recent weeks, Mackay Hospital was already back at 100% of elective surgery activity.
“I know how important this will be for the people in my community,” Mrs Gilbert said.
“With this funding boost our hospitals will be able to get back to pre-COVID levels of elective surgery much sooner than planned, and we will be able to work through the backlog at a much faster pace.
“We asked locals in Mackay to work with us to flatten the curve, and Queenslanders delivered above and beyond our expectations.
“Now it’s time for us to repay the favour.
“We expect wait list numbers will peak towards the end of June, however after this significant investment, numbers may now start trending down by next month.”