Long Waits for Surgeries Eliminated at Townsville HHS

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 02 July, 2014

Townsville Hospital and Health Service has achieved a major performance benchmark with patients receiving surgery on time every time.
 Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, said Townsville HHS was in the increasing number of regional hospital boards across the State, meeting or exceeding the national elective surgery waiting times target (NEST). 
“Today, there are no patients on the Townsville HHS elective surgery list who are waiting longer than the clinically recommended times for urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent surgery,"  Mr Springborg said.
“All patients are now seen faster than ever with the average wait reduced over the last year by 24 days to 105 days or three-and-a-half months across all categories.
Mr Springborg said the proof of the improvement in health services was in the NEST benchmark which applied Australia-wide, with hospitals striving to treat surgical patients within a recommended clinical priority timeframe:
In Townsville, the most urgent elective patients have their operations in 11 days on average – the national benchmark is 30 days; Semi-urgent patients wait on average 41 days – the national benchmark is 90 days;

  • Non -urgent patients are seen on average in  146 days – the national benchmark is one year.

Mr Springborg said the Townsville HHS had achieved significant reductions in waiting times across different surgical categories in the past year of up to four weeks.
“In Townsville, this benchmark has been achieved in a team effort involving staff at the HHS and partner private hospitals who co-operate to make sure patients receive their care in a timely way,” he said.
“Our clinical teams are rightly proud of their efforts. They have put their patients first and achieved an increase in surgical throughput which would ordinarily have cost the taxpayer an extra $7.5 million.
“In March, 2012, Townsville was treating just 89 percent of urgent cases; 61 pc of semi-urgent cases and 62 percent of non-urgent cases within the recommended time.”
 “I congratulate the hard-working surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and support staff who have achieved this fantastic result for the local community,” he said.
“Thanks also to the HHS Board for its leadership and support.”
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