AMA Welcomes Shrinking Elective Surgery Wait Lists, but Transparency Still Lacking

By Petrina Smith
Monday, 18 August, 2014

AMA Victoria has welcomed today’s State Government announcement that elective surgery waiting lists are at a four year low, but ongoing data transparency is still needed for Victorians still waiting for surgery. 
 Health Minister, the Hon. David Davis announced today that significant investment in elective surgery means that more than 170,000 surgeries have occurred over the past twelve months bringing the waiting list down to 38,244 patients.
 “This is a pleasing result and we commend the Government on their work to ease hospital pressure, however more investment is needed in resources and infrastructure to enhance transparency,” AMA Victoria President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.
 “Currently, elective surgery waiting lists do not reflect the actual time patients wait for surgery. Patients can wait many months and in some cases years for an outpatient clinic appointment and this is before they’re even put on the elective surgery waiting list. In 2010 the government made a commitment to releasing regular data on outpatients’ waiting lists and times. It is time that this data was released. 
“Our growing population requires more hospital beds to meet increasing demand for services. The state must provide detailed hospital bed data on all open and available beds to ensure that short-falls are met. Future investment must be prioritised into key growth areas to meet the demands of these growing populations”. 
 “Investment which facilitates transparent data is needed for effective long-term solutions. Full disclosure of key information, such as bed numbers and outpatient waiting lists, allows patients and doctors to make better informed treatment decisions.”
 “Band-aid funding fixes are not the answer. Victorian patients waiting for surgery deserve the respect of full access to information about vital health services,” Dr Bartone said.
 AMA Victoria met with Minister Davis on 16 July to discuss our priorities for the upcoming state election, which includes publishing quarterly outpatient waiting lists and data on the number of available beds in all Victorian public hospitals.

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