MORE than 80 per cent of patients on ACT outpatient wait lists are overdue, according to a freedom of information (FOI) disclosure.
Liberal health spokesperson Leanne Castley said a ministerial briefing obtained under FOI showed that about 23,065 patients were overdue for their surgery out of a total of 28,472 who were on the waitlist for certain specialities.
“These figures paint a very bleak picture for any Canberran that may need elective surgery in the future as well as the tens of thousands of Canberrans who will have to live in pain and sometimes debilitating conditions until they are admitted,” she said.
Patients were triaged into categories which determine how urgently they needed surgery.
“Category 1 urgent patients are clinically recommended to be seen within 30 days, however, there are 130 urgent patients waiting an average of 163 days for ear, nose and throat surgeries,” said Castley.
“Category 2, semi-urgent patients are recommended to be seen within 90 days, despite general surgery specialty having more than 1300 people waiting an average of 575 days for admission.
“Category 3, non-urgent patients are recommended to be seen within 365 days, Canberra Health Services has 1250 Category 3 patients waiting an average of 1085 days for orthopedic surgery.”
Patients have contacted Castley’s office, she said, telling her they feel forced to pay for private surgeries or move states, because they do not want to live in pain, sometimes for hundreds of days before they receive their surgery.
“It is tragic that Canberrans are forced to take this drastic action because the Barr-Rattenbury government have failed to address major issues in our public hospitals.”
Who can be trusted?
In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.
If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.
Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep citynews.com.au strong and free.
Ian Meikle, editor