Canberra's elective surgery and emergency departments' performances have plunged further, with ACT patients among the most likely in the country to be kept waiting for treatment.
New reports published on Thursday by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare compared the performance of emergency departments and elective surgery waiting lists across the country in the 2017-18 financial year.
ACT patients were far more likely than those in any other jurisdiction to wait more than a year for surgery, and wait longer for treatment at the emergency department.
Emergency department wait times got dramatically worse in 2017-18, and in all three key indicators - median waiting time, 90th percentile waiting time and proportion seen on time - the ACT performed the worst in the country.
Just 49 per cent of Canberra patients in the emergency department were seen on time, while the median wait time was 46 minutes.
In all other jurisdictions the median wait time was between 15 minutes (NSW) and 32 minutes (NT).
Canberra's performance was a significant drop from last year, when the median wait time was 30 minutes and 62 per cent of patients were seen on time.
Among the most concerning elective surgery figures was the percentage of patients on the long wait list, which was vastly higher than in any other jurisdiction.
For example, 30 per cent of patients waiting for a tonsillectomy can expect to wait more than a year for surgery in the ACT.
In all other jurisdictions that figure was 7 per cent or lower.
Anyone needing a septoplasty in the ACT should not hold their breath, with 58 per cent of patients waiting more than a year.
The median wait time for all surgery in the ACT was 54 days, with NSW the only state longer at 55 days.
The ACT had the highest wait at the 90th percentile, at 344 days, and the highest percentage by far of patients who waited for more than a year at 8 per cent.
Those waiting times also blew out significantly from the previous financial year.
The ACT was able to remove slightly more patients from the waiting list than it added, with 15,306 additions and 15,579 removals.
Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the government was committed to improving wait times.
"Waiting times are a challenge for all jurisdictions, and something we are committed to improving," she said.
"It’s disappointing to see we are lagging behind the rest of the country on some of these indicators, but I also want to ensure patients get quality care and I won’t compromise on that.
"The 2017-18 flu season clearly had an impact on our health services due to high demand.
"I can’t comment on other states and territories, but here in the ACT this unfortunately had an impact on our waiting times. We are also seeing higher acuity patients present to the emergency department.
"In 2019 I will continue to prioritise improving wait times and building the hospital infrastructure of the future."
Canberra Health Service chief executive officer Bernadette McDonald said reducing wait times was one of her first priorities since taking up the role.
“One of my first priorities since joining [Canberra Health Services] in October has been developing a Timely Care Strategy,” she said.
“The Timely Care Working Group has already commenced meeting to progress this work.
“We are very motivated to continually improve the services that we deliver and that is a commitment right across the organisation.
“There is a lot of good work that has already been done on timely care, we need to build on that and continue to identify the systems and processes that we can improve.
“The early indications are that we are moving in the right direction and we will continue to improve our systems and processes to ensure we continue to deliver quality, safe and timely care to our community.”