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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Planned surgery waitlists slashed by 85%

The NSW Government claims its overdue planned surgery waitlist has been slashed by 85% since the Surgical Care Governance Taskforce was set up 12 months ago.

NSW Premier, Chris Minns said the outstanding commitment of highly-skilled health staff, combined with the determined work of the taskforce, has been instrumental in reducing the number of people exceeding the clinically recommended timeframe for planned surgery.

He said the taskforce has seen over 12,000 less people waiting for an overdue procedure.

“One of the very first things I did as Premier was set up the Surgical Care Taskforce, so I am glad to see waitlist times moving in the right direction,” said Mr Minns.

“Our healthcare system has been under incredible pressure in recent years, but we are committed to ensuring our public health services deliver the best possible health services for the community.

“There’s still more work to be done but I want to acknowledge the efforts of the taskforce – and the countless number of health professionals all over NSW – in ensuring people are getting the care they need as quickly as possible.”

The most recent Bureau of Health Information Healthcare Quarterly reported 83.6% of all planned surgeries were performed on time in NSW public hospitals during the October to December quarter in 2023.

NSW public hospitals performed 59,422 planned surgeries during this time, with 99.5% of the urgent planned surgeries performed on time.

Minister for Health, Ryan Park said one of the ways the taskforce was able to achieve these results was by expanding the category of procedures eligible for same day surgery. These include hernia repair, gallbladder removal, tonsil removal, deviated septum surgery and sinus surgery.

“None of this progress would be possible without the dedicated efforts of our clinicians and healthcare workers, who have worked so hard to perform so many procedures, as well implementing a wide range of innovative strategies, in order to see the wait list return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Minister Park.

Chair of the Surgical Care Governance Taskforce and Program Director of Surgery at South Western Sydney Local Health District, Professor Neil Merrett said planned surgical activity had gone from strength to strength as facilities across the healthcare system put in place a range of innovative strategies to build resilience and improve performance across surgical services.

“This has been achieved by safely expanding capacity for same-day procedures which reduces the demand for overnight beds in busy public hospitals, additional surgery sessions, and partnering with private facilities to increase surgery capacity,” he said.

“We’ve also seen how state-wide strategies such as the Surgery Demand and Capacity Dashboard can provide greater visibility of planned surgery demand and identify operating theatre capacity issues.”

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