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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Elective surgery waitlist at 95,000

Health Industry Hub | December 15, 2020 |

MedTech News: More than 95,000 people are waiting for elective surgery – 10,000 more than at the same time last year.

More than 95,000 people are waiting for elective surgery in NSW as public hospitals try to catch up on a backlog following the suspension of non-urgent procedures in March due to COVID-19.

Bureau of Health Information (BHI) data reveals 95,502 people were on the waiting list in the September quarter – up 10,024 on the same period last year.

The BHI noted a resurgence in elective surgery numbers in July to September with almost 65,000 performed – 2,581 or 4.2% more than for the same quarter in 2019.

NSW Health Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce said it was a “terrific result” considering the suspension of non-urgent surgery during the pandemic left 101,000 on he waiting list at the end of June.

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Ms Pearce said the health system was recovering well from the nationally imposed restrictions with public hospitals performing more elective surgeries than in any other quarter over the past five years.

“The effort of NSW in quadrupling ICU capacity, managing presentations and pushing through surgery is remarkable,” she said.

More than 8,000 people who underwent elective surgery in the last quarter waited longer than the clinically recommended time, up from 844 in 2019, although almost all urgent procedures were performed on time.

The median wait for non-urgent elective procedures increased by 90 days to 330 days and one-in-10 patients waited 441 days for non-urgent elective surgery.

The wait for knee replacements increased 65 days to 358 days, the wait for ophthalmology procedures increased by 98 days to 330 days and those needing ear, nose and throat surgery waited 291 days.

Labor health spokesman Ryan Park said the government had lost control of the wait-list.

“The record-long waitlists are a result of a decade of neglect and under-resourcing,” he said in a statement.

“It has little to do with the elective surgery suspension earlier this year. Quarter after quarter, we have seen blowouts and backlogs and nothing being done to address it.”


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