The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has raised alarm over the accuracy of the publicly published data from the Victorian Government regarding elective surgery waitlists, claiming the true numbers may be significantly worse than reported.
The AMA conducted an independent analysis estimating a backlog of 135,000 Victorians waiting for surgery, a staggering 50,000 more than the state’s official figure of 85,000.
Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland, shadow parliamentary secretary for health, expressed concern about these findings and the ongoing high levels of waitlists in her local area.
“This is a crisis that cannot be ignored,” Cleeland said.
“With 135,000 Victorians languishing on waitlists, suffering from the impacts of deferred care, it is clear that the government’s current strategy is failing.”
To put this in perspective, the AMA estimated New South Wales’ waitlist was 60,000 lower than Victoria’s, and our state is responsible for 44 per cent of the national backlog.
Over the last year the Northern Hospital elective surgery waitlist has blown out by 891 people while GV Health’s waitlist continues to remain stubbornly high.
“This is a shocking and unacceptable position our communities and health care workers are in.”
“Every single person on these waitlists has a story to tell and is dealing with a difficult condition every day,” she said.
“Our healthcare workers are doing an admirable job under immense pressure, but they need a workforce strategy and proper support to clear this gridlock.”
The AMA indicated the Andrews Government’s plan to conduct 40,000 extra surgeries a year was unlikely to be achieved.
Ms Cleeland called on the government to take immediate action.
“We need a comprehensive and well-funded plan to reduce elective surgeries, with a specific focus on addressing the workforce shortage,” Ms Cleeland said.
“The government must invest in the necessary resources and support to ease the burden on our healthcare workers.
“I am incredibly passionate about regional healthcare and access to these essential services. I’ll be a vocal presence on Spring St, ensuring the government understands the immense challenges our communities face.”