17 Aug 2021
AMA Tasmania welcomes the government’s elective surgery waiting list reduction plan released today.
Across the state our public elective surgery lists contain patients that require urgent, semi-urgent and surgery within a year. All these continue to grow in number, and patients are waiting far too long.
The term elective surgery is a misnomer for Tasmanians sitting on the waiting list. There is nothing elective about their need, particularly those in category one, our urgent category, for whom surgery is critical for their treatment.
The additional health funding over the next four years is welcome; however, we need to see this investment continue to grow in the future into our public elective surgery program.
This investment will enable more doctors, nurses, and allied health staff to be employed ongoing in the public system and new beds to be opened to ensure these waiting lists never blow out to this extent again.
A permanent increase in funding would let the public health sector better plan and resource the management of elective surgery within our state.
We know that investing in our workforce is better in the long term for Tasmanians for recruitment and retention.
We know that working through our long elective surgery waiting lists is currently not possible in the public system alone. The private sector will be important to help get the waiting list back under control. However, it must not be seen as a permanent solution.
Our public system trains the surgeons of the future. These doctors in training must be exposed to a variety of operations for teaching purposes. The danger with depending on the private system to assist is that they will only take the cheaper, simple procedures leaving the public system with the complex, more complicated to manage patients.
Further, by building sustainability into our public health system, we ensure that the private health system capacity is available for those Tasmanians who have chosen to invest in private health insurance.>>>ENDS.
Published: 17 Aug 2021