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Surgery Waitlist Drops to Four-Year Low in Victoria

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In a positive development for Victoria’s healthcare system, the waitlist for planned surgeries has decreased to its lowest level since 2019, showing significant progress from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This progress reflects the combined efforts of healthcare workers and structural reforms implemented in the state’s health sector.

The quarter three performance report, released by Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, highlights that 51,000 Victorians underwent planned surgeries between January and March 2024. This has brought the total surgery waitlist down to 62,228 patients, a nearly 30 per cent decrease since the COVID Catch-Up Plan was launched in April 2022.

Furthermore, the data shows that 99.99 per cent of Category 1 patients received surgery within the recommended timeframes, while 80 per cent of patients across all categories were treated on time. This year has seen an increase in planned surgeries, with 153,000 surgeries performed so far, representing a 10 per cent rise from the same period in 2023.

Victoria’s health services have also managed a 45 per cent increase in planned surgeries in the financial year to date compared to 2022, demonstrating a concerted effort to address the backlog.

Several measures have been implemented to achieve these results, including establishing Patient Support Units at 23 health services to assist patients in preparing for surgery. Two new public surgical centres and ten new Rapid Access Hubs have been opened, designed to streamline services and free up hospital capacity.

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Emergency departments handled more than 493,000 presentations in emergency care, treating patients five minutes faster than pre-pandemic levels. Victoria’s paramedics have also shown improvements, responding to Code 1 cases 31 seconds faster than last year, with a median response time of 11.8 minutes.

Despite a 4.4 per cent increase in Code 1 callouts, performance has improved, with 67.7 per cent of Code 1 cases being responded to within 15 minutes, compared to 65.2 per cent the year before.

“Our pandemic recovery continues to move in the right direction, and this is testament to our hardworking healthcare workers and their commitment to ensure all Victorians get the care they need, despite ongoing demand,” Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said.

“Our initiatives are delivering better care, upskilling our workers, and ensuring Victorians have more options to access care before it becomes an emergency,” Minister Thomas added.

The developments underscore the progress in Victoria’s healthcare sector, reflecting operational improvements and the commitment of its medical workforce.

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