Elective surgery waiting times stable nationally

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Wednesday, 11 January, 2017

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Waiting times for elective surgery have remained fairly stable nationally over recent years according to new hospitals information products released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Elective surgery waiting times 2015–16: Australian hospital statistics, presents national and state-level hospital data.

The report shows that after adjusting for the number of hospitals included, admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased by about 1.7% on average each year between 2011–12 and 2015–16. Amid rising admissions, waiting times remained relatively stable over the same period.

"In 2015–16, the median waiting time — the time within which 50% of all patients were admitted — was 37 days," said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

"This was not much different from the median of 35 days recorded for 2014–15 and the median of 36 days recorded each year from 2011–12 to 2013–14."

The proportion of patients who waited longer than 365 days to be admitted for their procedure decreased from 2.7% to 2.0% between 2011–12 and 2015–16.

In 2015–16, the procedure with the shortest median waiting time (13 days) was Coronary artery bypass graft, and Septoplasty (to fix a deviated septum) had the longest median waiting time (209 days).

The report shows that the median waiting time for Indigenous Australians (43 days) was higher than for other Australians (37) and a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians waited more than a year for elective surgery than other Australians (2.3% and 2.0%, respectively).

In addition to this report, the AIHW has published on the MyHospitals website hospital-level information on waiting times by urgency of surgery, by the specialty of the surgeons performing the elective surgery and for various surgical procedures.

Data are also available on waiting times for 290 hospital emergency departments. These are accompanied by an interactive web tool showing how public hospitals compare against other similar hospitals for a range of measures.

For more Australian hospital statistics, visit www.aihw.gov.au/hospitals and www.myhospitals.gov.au.

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