Annual reports reveal elective surgery waitlist blowouts in all WA health areas

The release of annual reports for Western Australia’s five area health services today revealed massive blowouts in waiting times for elective surgeries across the State.

Shadow Health Minister Libby Mettam said the figures showed the State’s health system was in systemic decline.

“To read these reports and see one of the biggest waitlist increases was in the number of children waiting beyond the recommended time for Category 1 surgery, the most serious surgery, had more than doubled in the past 12 months is extremely alarming,” Ms Mettam said.

“Further, the highest percentage over boundary waitlist was for Category 3 surgery in our Child and Adolescent Health Service, where two in five children are waiting for more than a year for their surgery.

“WA patients are paying the price for the Cook Labor Government’s failure to deliver in health.”

Of the 15 over-boundary waitlists reported by State’s five area health services 13 showed increases, with three more than doubling.

The North Metropolitan Health Service, East Metropolitan Health service, South Metropolitan Health Service, Country Area Health Service and Child and Adolescent Health Service all report the percentage of patients who waited over boundary in Category 1 (30 days), Category 2 (60 days) and Category 3 (365 days).

The lists that more than doubled were Category 1 in Child and Adolescent Health Service, Category 3 at North Metropolitan Health Service and South Metropolitan Health Service.

Ms Mettam said that while the Government continued to try to sell the line that all was great in our public hospital system, they denied the real impact behind these wait lists.

“Every one of these lists represents potentially thousands of people who are often experiencing daily pain and having their lives and livelihoods impacted.

“There are children whose learning is being impacted by hearing loss and people left immobile while waiting for a hip or knee replacement.

“The failure of the Cook Labor Government to maintain our public health system is made even more galling by its constant gloating over budget surpluses.

“Budget surpluses achieved courtesy of unexpected increases in iron ore royalties and the GST fix handed them by the former Federal Liberal Government.”