Waiting time drags out

LAUNCESTON General Hospital patients faced the state's longest median wait for elective surgery in the nine months to March 2014, according to new figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services yesterday.

The department's quarterly progress report showed that LGH patients waited a median 62 days for elective surgery between June 2013 and March 2014.

The LGH's elective surgery wait list also rose by 1.1 per cent as of March 31, 2014, compared to the same time the previous year.

However, the hospital increased admissions from the elective surgery wait list by 3.9 per cent.

Between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014, the average overdue wait time for LGH elective surgery patients still waiting and ready for care was 20 days for urgent patients, 236 days for semi-urgent patients and 286 days for non-urgent patients.

During that same time, 145 patients left the waiting list because they could not be contacted.

The hospital also dealt with rising demand and activity, with admissions increasing by 9.6 per cent in the nine months to March 31 and emergency departments rising by 1.1 per cent.

The report said staffing changes and a new emergency department at the LGH had led to an improvement in the proportion of patients seen on time, with resuscitation, emergency and non-urgent patients seen within recommended timeframes.

However, the hospital emergency department fell short of time benchmarks for treating urgent and semi-urgent patients.


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