TASMANIAN public hospitals have shown a marked improvement in the time they take to treat elective surgery patients, according to statistics released today.
The number of overdue elective surgery patients waiting for their procedures fell steadily in all three categories of surgery in the 12 months to December last year.
The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare hospital statistics reveal that the number of category one [urgent] patients overdue for treatment in Tasmania fell from 17 in December 2011 to none at the same time last year.
The number of category two patients overdue for treatment within 90 days dropped dramatically from 252 at the end of 2011 to 57 in December last year.
The category three patients, who are required to be attended to within 365 days, have been the group at the state's public hospitals who have suffered the most from the government budget cuts that have forced closures of operating theatres in all three regions.
But today's report shows that even in this category the number of Tasmanians overdue for treatment fell from 105 in December 2011 to 98 last December.
At the same time elective surgery admissions increased from 3438 at the start of 2012 to 3743 in the last three months of the year.
Despite the significant improvement, Tasmanian hospitals did not achieve their targeted elective surgery performances compared with the national elective surgery time in all three categories.
The state aimed to treat 84 per cent of its category one patients within the designated 30 days compared with the national benchmark of 75.5 per cent but only managed to see 76 per cent.
It just topped the national baseline of 59.3 per cent seen in the category two section.
More than 60 per cent of Tasmanian category two patients were seen on time but the target was 67 per cent.
The state aimed to beat the national baseline of 76.8 per cent of category three patients seen within the required 365 days.
It had aimed for 81 per cent of category three patients dealt with in the required time but only managed to see 72.8 per cent.