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The elective surgery waitlist now in the hundreds of thousands

Article image for The elective surgery waitlist now in the hundreds of thousands

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are caught up in the backlog for elective surgeries following cancellations at the height of the pandemic.

A University of Newcastle study has revealed in just eight weeks the waitlist has reached almost 400,000 surgeries, and will take nearly a year to clear.

The NSW government has committed $388 million to fast-track procedures by increasing capacity and allowing public patients to be treated in private hospitals.

The Queensland government has announced a similar measure, spending $250 million.

University of Newcastle study co-author Dr Peter Pockney says the investment from the state governments is “a welcome start”, but throwing money at the problem is unlikely to solve it.

“We did some simple modelling.

“If the system went back up to full capacity, and then did an extra 10 per cent on top of what it was doing before … it would take 45 weeks to close up [the backlog].

“In some parts of the country … the private sector works pretty well flat out too, so it’s not going to be an instant panacea for everybody.

“Even with the money there, you’ve still got to have the physical space, the physical kit, [and] the human resources.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: Getty

Deborah Knight
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