Surgery wait time ‘best ever’

Fewer Queensland patients are waiting for important elective surgery with new figures showing a massive reduction in waiting lists of more than 90 per cent.

Premier Campbell Newman said Queensland was poised to become the only state in Australia to reduce the number of long-wait surgery patients to zero by December.

Mr Newman said the elective surgery long wait list had been reduced by 92 per cent since the LNP Government was elected in 2012, which was further proof of the Government’s success in revitalising frontline services.

Mr Newman said he was proud of the fact that fewer families, pensioners and everyday Queenslanders now had to wait for elective surgery which meant improved quality of health and improved quality of life.

“In March 2012 there were 6485 patients on the long wait list for elective surgery, whereas for the September quarter, there are only 533 ‘long wait’ patients,” Mr Newman said.

“In one year alone, the semi-urgent or Category 2 long wait list has been slashed by 90 per cent with 3513 long wait patients treated. The extraordinary efforts of our dedicated frontline health workers have improved wait times and I commend them for their excellent work.

“We want to have the best public health system in the nation and we have made massive gains towards that goal. Our health system has gone from one of the worst performing, to one of the best in the country in just two and a half years.”

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the continued improvements were significant considering Queensland was experiencing the largest growth in demand for health services in the country.

“Queensland continues to report an increase in elective surgery admissions and hospitals are dealing exceptionally well with this increased demand,” he said.

“We have seen a huge reduction in ‘long waits’ which is further evidenced by the improved figures for elective surgery patients treated on time. It proves our strong plan for a brighter future, is working.”

Mr Springborg said the figures showed 98 per cent of urgent Category 1 patients were treated within the recommended time during the September 2014 quarter, compared to 86 per cent during the March quarter of 2012.

“We’ve seen improvements across every category with 92 per cent of Category 2 patients seen on time and 96 per cent of Category 3 in this year’s September quarter,” he said.

“This is a great achievement because it means more patients are being seen within the recommended timeframe and they’re getting better more quickly. But the job is far from over, there are still a lot of improvements required to address the health mess left by Labor.

“The ALP had secret and abysmal waiting lists, massive waste and mismanagement including the fake Tahitian Prince scandal.”

Mr Springborg said Queensland had the lowest median wait time for surgery in the country in 2013-14, with an average wait time of 28 days – well below the national average of 36 days.

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