AMA (NSW) calls on the NSW Government to make elective surgery a priority
- On September 22, 2021
The NSW Government is backing the wrong horse, says AMA (NSW) President, Dr Danielle McMullen, who says planning for outdoor sporting events should not take precedence over the reopening of elective surgery.
“Allowing 5000 punters to attend a horse race, while patients continue to sit on wait lists for elective surgery is poor form,” Dr McMullen said.
“Healthcare access should come first when prioritising post lockdown activities. If the State Government is looking at resuming activities, it should be allowing private hospitals to provide day procedures.
“We’re still playing catch-up from the last elective surgery lockdown. Wait times are up and the lists keep getting longer,” she said.
Bureau of Health Information figures from the last quarter (April to June) show that the median wait time for non-urgent surgery was 256 days – 10 days longer than the pre-COVID period – April to June 2019.
There were 85,296 people on the waiting list at the end of the quarter – of those, 2,108 had waited longer than the clinically recommended timeframe. Almost all (83,271 of those people on the waiting list) were in the semi-urgent and non-urgent category.
“The public hospital system is under strain, but there is staffing capacity in the private hospital system.
“Empty operating rooms in private hospitals are not helping our COVID-19 response. If the situation changes and we need to utilise these facilities for COVID care, then we can cancel day procedures. The turn-around time is very minimal.
“We should be allowing day surgeries to go ahead while we can, as that will provide the best health outcomes for patients.
“People are living in pain with no prospect of returning to work because they are waiting for surgery. We are talking about real human suffering.
“Non-COVID care can’t take a backseat forever,” Dr McMullen said.
Media contact: Andrea Cornish - 0419 402 955