Tasmania lagging in surgery stakes

AUSTRALIAN public hospital patients needing ear, nose and throat operations have the longest waiting times for specialist surgery, a new report has revealed.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report said ear, nose and throat patients had a median waiting time of 73 days in the 2014-15 financial year, whereas those needing cardio-thoracic surgery had the shortest wait time, 18 days.

The report, Elective Surgery Waiting Times 2014-15: Australian Hospital Statistics, showed that the time in which 50% of patients were admitted for elective procedures dropped from 36 to 35 days between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

AIHW spokeswoman Jenny Hargreaves said the proportion of patients who waited longer than a year to be admitted for their procedure also fell from 2.8% in 2010-11 to 1.8% in 2014-15.

However, the report found waiting times varied significantly across Australia.

"In 2014-15, the median waiting time ranged from 27 days in Queensland to 55 days in Tasmania," Ms Hargreaves said.



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