I’m not sure what kicked it off but for a departmental media release Health’s latest effort is unusually fiesty:
“Contrary to the allegations made today about waiting lists for elective surgery, at the end of October 2013 the number of people waiting with extended waiting times is the lowest on record at 618, down from 922 in March when we first introduced this process,” Dr Peggy Brown, Director General of ACT Health said.
“ACT Health has been working with both hospitals to improve access to elective surgery and reduce the time people wait for surgery.
“To do this we have implemented a process that focuses on providing access to surgery for people with long waiting times, while also increasing access for people before they become ‘long waits’.
“This is at the same time as we are recording our best results for patients seen within recommended waiting times (with 98% of people in the most urgent category seen on time).
“Comments made today by the Visiting Medical Officer’s Association are misleading and false.
“Had the VMO’s Association spoken first to ACT Health, we would have been able to take them through the process and explain the rationale behind it. Instead they have sought to grandstand and reduce the confidence of the community in our health system, despite obvious success in reducing overall waiting times.
“We would also have been able to advise them that this in keeping with the objectives of the National Health Reform, Dr Brown concluded.
UPDATE: The plot thickens as the Liberals spot data tampering:
The Canberra Liberals are demanding the ACT Government launch a fully independent investigation following claims by surgeons that patients are being left to suffer on elective surgery waiting lists to make the Government’s books look better, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Hanson said today.
“Today I’m calling on the ACT Government to show there is nothing to hide by launching an independent investigation,” Mr Hanson said.
“I’m calling on the Government to table the draft terms of reference for this investigation by the last sitting day of 2013 and to have an interim report ready by the first sitting of the Legislative Assembly in 2014.
“It’s nothing short of disgusting if ACT Labor is deliberately forcing patients to suffer for longer than they have to on elective surgery waiting lists, just so the Government can improve its books.
“ACT Labor has a history of manipulating both elective surgery and emergency department waiting times and we must get to the bottom of why patients are having to wait lengthy periods for surgery.
“Canberra residents rely on the Government to put them first in health. We must have this investigation to make sure no-one is being left behind on waiting lists,” Mr Hanson concluded.