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Elective waiting list data hides actual times – AMA Report – updated

ama_public_hospital_report_card_2014

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

‘While public hospitals do not have the capacity to meet demand, they will struggle to meet performance targets. Insufficient capacity to meet demand means patient safety and quality care are at risk and elective surgery waiting list data hide actual times that patients are waiting to be treated in the public hospital system,’  the Report said.

The AMA Report follows recent statements by Minister for Health Jack Snelling’s claim that South Australia’s Public Hospitals lead the way and there were no overdue elective surgery patients in SA in June 2013 and December 2013

The AMA Public Hospital Report Card 2014 provides an analysis of public hospital performance against key performance measures. The Report uses the most recent publicly available data. It also reflects the experiences of the AMA doctors who work in our public hospitals every day. It shows that despite the structural reforms to health financing under the National Health Reform Agreement and the hard work of a dedicated health workforce, there has been only marginal improvement in public hospital performance against the major performance benchmarks. The AMA Report shows South Australia’s Public Hospital’s did not reach performance standards.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the only State to reach performance standards was Western Australia and he believes that this was achieved by more engagement with staff – all staff, he said.

Millicent Hospital mid wives learned of the closure of Obstetric Services through the Media.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said ‘South Australia’s public hospitals lead the way,’ 

The AMA Report shows South Australia’s Public Hospital’s did not reach performance standards.

SA Public Hospitals:-

·         did not improve in Emergency Depart waiting time for urgent cases,

·         did not meet National Emergency Access Target (NEAT),

·         did not improve Elective Surgery waiting times

·         did not meet  the National Elective Surgery Target (NEST) 2012 of treating patients in the clinically recommended time of 90 days.

Health Minister Jack Snelling said there were no overdue elective surgery patients waiting in South Australia’s public hospitals at the end of June 2013 and December 2013.

The AMA Report  found that Elective surgery waiting list data hide the actual times that patients are waiting to be treated in the public hospital system. ‘The time patients wait from when they are referred by their general practitioner to actually seeing a specialist for assessment is not counted. It is only after patients have seen the specialist that they are added to the official waiting list. This means that the publicly available elective surgery waiting list data actually understate the real time people wait for surgery. Some people wait longer for assessment by a specialist than they do for surgery.

The AMA Report said they look forward to this data being publicly available to give Australians a full and accurate picture of waiting times for elective surgery.’

Information provided to  5THE FM/wattlerangenow shows that regional surgical patients were and are waiting, about 6 weeks and orthopaedics wait at least 4-6 months to see an orthopaedic surgeon and often wait 3 – 5 months to get their surgery locally and this has not changed recently.

Sources: Statements from Health Minister Jack Snelling

AMA Report 2014

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