Surgery system questioned

 Elective surgery concerns have been raised after a report revealed Tasmanians waited the longest for elective surgery in Australia in 2015-16.  State opposition health spokeswoman Rebecca White said Tasmanians were waiting “too long” for elective surgery compared to other Australians.

“[Health Minister] Michael Ferguson must ensure clinics and wards are appropriately staffed and resourced to maximise patient care,” Ms White said. 

 The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Elective surgery waiting times 2015-16: Australian hospital statistics report was released on Thursday.

The median wait time for elective surgery in Tasmania during 2015-16 was 72 days, up from 55 days the year before. Elective surgery admissions from public hospital waiting lists increased 21.6 per cent from the year before in Tasmania. The report represented data from Australia’s public hospitals.  

Mr Ferguson said that less than two per cent of Tasmanian elective surgeries were performed in Victoria in 2015-16. 

“The Hodgman Liberal Government’s priority is to ensure more Tasmanians can get the surgery they need sooner and we have shown that we are willing to use resources at our disposal to achieve this,” he said. 

He said an “all-time record number of surgeries were performed”.

Bass Greens MHA Andrea Dawkins said Mr Ferguson’s “solution” to escalate waiting lists through transferring patients interstate or to private hospitals was at a “huge public expense”. She said patients were presenting to hospital without adequate post-care plans.