Public hospital surgeons from Canberra have begun performing surgery at the Queanbeyan Hospital as part of a trial which could lead to a full-scale cross-border surgery agreement between the ACT and NSW.
Only 205 elective operations were performed in Queanbeyan Hospital between January and March and local doctors regularly complain that the facility is under-utilised.
More than 2400 elective procedures were performed on NSW patients in the ACT public hospital system during the year to March.
Chief Minster Katy Gallagher and NSW Member for Monaro John Barilaro today announced the ACT had begun using the hospital to perform urology and gynaecology operations.
The announcement comes more than 10 days after the ACT-funded trial started, and at a time when Ms Gallagher is facing a no-confidence motion in the Legislative Assembly over her managing of the health portfolio.
Eleven procedures had been performed this month and a total of 50 operations would be carried out ahead of a review, which will consider expansion and a potential annual commitment to conduct surgeries at Queanbeyan.
“People in the capital region don’t care about lines on the map, they just want their surgery done,” Ms Gallagher said.
“This trial has the potential to be expanded and formalised in the future to see more people have their operations sooner.
“There are people from both sides of the border on the ACT elective surgery waiting list, now ACT surgeons are able to use some excellent NSW facilities to carry out operations at Queanbeyan Hospital.’’
Mr Barilaro said the arrangement demonstrated what could be achieved when two jurisdictions work together.
“Many NSW residents use health facilities in the ACT and this new arrangement allows quality NSW facilities to be used by patients and staff from both sides of the border,” he said.
The ACT already outsources some of its elective surgery lists to private hospitals.