Canberrans live long but wait more for surgery

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CANBERRA residents have Australia’s highest life expectancy, highest immunisation rates and fastest ambulance response times but it also has one of the longest wait times for elected surgeries nationally, according to the 2019 Report on Government Services. 

According to the report, Canberra had the highest wait times for elective surgery in public hospitals in 2017-18.

Nationally 50 per cent of patients were admitted within 40 days and 90 per cent of patients were admitted within 268 days.

  2019 Report on Government Services: Waiting times for elective surgery, public hospitals

Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris says the ACT government acknowledges that the emergency department (ED) and elective surgery  performance needs improvement.

“An increase in both the number of presentations to the ED and in the complexity of patient presentations are among the factors that contributed to ED performance in 2017-18,” she says. 

“Since this data was reported we have made significant investment and changes within ACT Health to help address these challenges.”

But when it comes to immunisation rates, Ms Fitzharris says Canberra continues to lead the country. 

“In 2017-18 we were the only state or territory to achieve at least 95 per cent immunisation coverage for every vaccine available on the National Immunisation Program, for children aged 12 months to less than 15 months,” she says. 

“Canberrans are being diligent about cancer screening too, with participation rates above the national average for breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening.”

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