The Marshall Liberal Government has today delivered on its commitment to publicly release hospital outpatient clinic waiting times.
The information, available on the SA Health website, provides details that will support patients and their GPs to make informed decisions about treatment options.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said publishing the data is the first step in tackling long wait times.
“Too often, patients are referred by their GPs to see a specialist without any idea of how long they’re going to have to wait to be seen,” Minister Wade said.
“Today, we are making it simpler for patients to be aware of the extent of the wait involved for some specialities.
“This will help people make informed decisions about their treatment, using data which has not been publicly available in South Australia.”
The specialist outpatient waiting time report includes both the average and maximum wait time by speciality and hospital for all metropolitan hospitals.
These waiting times do not apply to urgent referrals that may need to be seen by a clinician within 30 days. The published waiting times are for routine or non-urgent patient referrals that can be added to a waiting list for an appointment.
Minister Wade said the data proves that for some patients, the wait time is far too long.
“When the maximum wait for an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist appointment is greater than 16 years, we know that improvements can be made,” he said.
“Outpatient reporting is a challenge because different hospitals have different ways of reporting their data.”
“We also know the same patient may be on multiple waiting lists or they may no longer require the appointment because they have already seen a doctor or private specialist elsewhere.”
“So, in conjunction, hospitals are regularly reviewing outpatient waiting lists to confirm if patients still require their appointments, and SA Health is looking to develop a reliable, automated reporting system.”
“We will look to continually improve the report. We will engage General Practitioners, peak bodies and other stakeholders to seek their feedback on how the reports can be improved.”
Average waiting time data for Flinders Medical Centre and Noarlunga Hospital is not currently available as their data collection is not consistent with other reporting systems.
The specialist outpatient waiting time report will be published on a quarterly basis. Data reported today is only a selection of outpatient speciality areas, with additional data to be added as it becomes available.
For more information or to view the waiting times, go to www.sahealth.sa.gov.au