Elective surgery wait time blow outs have been detailed as long awaited health data is released on the eve of Qld’s Budget Estimates hearing.
Elective surgery wait time blow outs have been detailed as long awaited health data is released on the eve of Qld’s Budget Estimates hearing.

Extent of surgery wait time blow outs revealed

Elective surgery wait times have blown out in Queensland amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the government forks out hundreds of millions of dollars to tackle the backlog.

The government yesterday released long awaited health data on the eve of Yvette D'Ath's first budget estimates hearing as Health Minister, where waiting times is set to dominate.

The figures reveal 87 per cent of patients in the September quarter were seen to within the recommended time frame - down from the 95.3 per cent recorded from the same time last year.

Queensland Health also failed to meet the targets it had set for patients to be treated within a clinically recommended time for all three categories of patients.

Yvette D'Ath at Parliament. Picture: Annette Dew
Yvette D'Ath at Parliament. Picture: Annette Dew

A National Cabinet direction to suspend non-urgent surgery has impacted the figures, with the government embarking on a $250 million elective surgery blitz in recent months in a bid to deal with the backlog.

The data shows there were 37,884 patients who underwent elective surgery between July and September this year, an increase of about 1,550 from the same quarter in 2019. That included 13,907 Category One patients.

"This strong performance is particularly pleasing, given it came at the height of Victoria's second wave when our public health response was overwhelmingly geared towards keeping Queenslanders safe from coronavirus," Ms D'Ath said.

"While Category One surgeries continued as normal, less urgent procedures were suspended during this period, as agreed by National Cabinet.

"The data shows we're continuing to clear the elective surgery backlog following the nationally agreed postponement of non-urgent procedures earlier this year."

The state's emergency departments attended to more than 590,000 people last quarter - a significant increase of about 9.8 per cent from the same quarter last year.

Of the five categories of emergency department patients, three of them met the targets they had been set for when patients would be seen to within clinically recommended times.

"The vast majority, 83 per cent, of all of our ED patients are being seen within clinically recommended times," Ms D'Ath said.

Originally published as Extent of surgery wait time blow outs revealed


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