State's elective surgery waiting list reaches new low
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State's elective surgery waiting list reaches new low

Victoria's elective surgery waiting list was 36,096 patients in June.

Victoria's elective surgery waiting list was 36,096 patients in June.

Photo: Nicolas Walker

The number of people waiting for elective surgery in Victoria dropped to its lowest level on record last month, a result the state government has attributed to the dedication and hard work of health services staff.

More than 90 per cent of Victorians waiting for elective surgery were treated within the recommended time in the three months to June, new data from the Victorian Agency for Health Information shows.

In that time, 55,806 patients received their surgery, which was 2525 more patients than in the same three-month period last year.

By the end of June, the state’s elective surgery waiting list sat at 36,096 patients, the lowest number on record and a 28 per cent drop on five years ago.

Meanwhile, the median wait time for patients presenting to emergency fell to 17 minutes, two minutes lower than a year ago.

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Major public hospitals in Melbourne including The Alfred, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital all reported significant improvement in the number of patients seen.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the government’s multibillion-dollar investment in the hospital system was paying off.

“Elective surgery waiting lists broke the 50,000 barrier under the Liberals, but now our hospitals are performing better than ever before,” Ms Hennessy said.

“This data shows more patients are accessing world-class treatment and care when they need it most.”

The new figures follow an auditor-general’s report tabled in October that found Victorian hospitals needed to become more efficient in treating a growing number of people on the elective surgery waiting list.

“Demand for surgery is rising in response to a growing and ageing population,” the report said.

“Health services need to run their operating theatres as efficiently as possible if they are to meet this rising demand, and reduce waiting lists, with their current resources.”