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Improving elective surgery numbers, if we can believe them

By johnboy - 13 June 2012 6

It’s a funny thing trust. Once you lost a little bit of it the rest just disappears.

Trust and health statistics is harder still. They’ve always been the sequel to “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics”.

But for whatever it’s worth Chief Minister Gallagher is congratulating the troops for significantly reducing the number of postponed elective surgeries:

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher today congratulated staff in the ACT hospital system for providing surgery to 10,399 people who were on the ACT public hospitals’ elective surgery waiting list in 2011/12.

“Over the past five months the number of operations postponed has fallen to just over five percent, compared with 9.5 percent in the first 11 months of 2010-11,” the Chief Minister said.

“In 2011/12 the numbers of people on the waiting list has dropped by 11 percent to 3,812 – the lowest level in a decade, with on average over 1000 surgeries completed a month.

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6 Responses to
Improving elective surgery numbers, if we can believe them
watto23 12:25 pm 14 Jun 12

I wonder how it will be affected now they are making private health insurance more expensive.
Actually even before the rebate got removed, I was going to get rid of my private insurance, well actually minimise it to avoid the extra tax. I’ll never use it again, because while i’m happy for my taxes to fund hospitals and universal health care, I’m being slugged several times. I was out of pocket ~$5k after needing my shoulder operated on, due to the fact the health insurance doesn’t cover everything and the gaps are quite big. Given I could have managed sitting on a waiting list and adding another to the queue, I fail to see why I should be slugged the gap payment still. Its really a disincentive to use private cover. Plus if there is a next time I may not have the savings to pay the gap. The whole health system, health insurance system is all screwed up.

Thumper 11:08 am 14 Jun 12

So, after lying about the previous figures, okay, manipulating the data to make it look better, Gallagher expects us to believe her this time?

Yep. Wonderful. These people are sometimes beyond belief.

mezza76 11:00 am 14 Jun 12

NurseRatched said :

What they don’t tell you is this:

Much of the extra surgical work done to reduce waiting lists was NOT done in the public hospital system. Recognising that the public system is inherently inefficient, ACT Health did a deal with Calvary John James Private and did many public surgical lists in the private system under a scheme known as Public Access (presumably referring to public access to proper healthcare).These were public patients under a special deal, with the medical staff (surgeons and anaesthetists) paid at full AMA rates (much higher than normal public rates). So, while we can’t afford to pay our public nurses to run a public operating theatre, we are all paying a premium to get public patients done in private hospitals at very private rates.

This isnt anything new. In fact QLD has been doing it for years (Surgery Connect) and it’s considered somewhat best practice for managing public hospital waiting lists. Essentially, public hospitals buy up unused demand from private hospitals to clear wait lists. In some respects its actually good management decent value for money as private hospitals dont do complex emergency surgery – which is done in public hospitals. Therefore there is always going to be more demand on the public system.

clp 10:05 am 14 Jun 12

In a tertiary public hospital elective surgery waiting lists are always problematic – thats because (quite rightly) they get bumped for emergencies.
I think this is a product of how the entire country’s health care system is established and not really emblematic of ACT Health per se.

EvanJames 3:13 pm 13 Jun 12

And if those patients have complications (ie start dying), they have to bundle them into an ambulance and ferry them to Emergency at one of the public hospitals.

NurseRatched 2:46 pm 13 Jun 12

What they don’t tell you is this:

Much of the extra surgical work done to reduce waiting lists was NOT done in the public hospital system. Recognising that the public system is inherently inefficient, ACT Health did a deal with Calvary John James Private and did many public surgical lists in the private system under a scheme known as Public Access (presumably referring to public access to proper healthcare).These were public patients under a special deal, with the medical staff (surgeons and anaesthetists) paid at full AMA rates (much higher than normal public rates). So, while we can’t afford to pay our public nurses to run a public operating theatre, we are all paying a premium to get public patients done in private hospitals at very private rates.

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