While the state-wide elective surgery waitlist has seen a minor reduction over the last quarter of reporting, local waitlists continue to remain high across Greater Bendigo.
Over the October to December quarter the number of patients waiting for surgery at Bendigo Health increased by 77. The current waitlist is also 51 higher than this time last year.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland said the impacts of deferred care are being felt throughout the health system.
“Our local health services will be forced to play catch up for years due to the mismanagement of our health system – something exacerbated by the COVID pandemic,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Over just 12 months the waitlist at Bendigo Health has grown by 51. Every single one of these people has a story to tell and is in desperate need of surgery to improve their quality of life.
“For so many, these straightforward surgeries are delayed and deferred until patients need to attend an emergency room as their conditions worsen.”
Ms Cleeland said while the state-wide numbers were down, there remains doubt over the legitimacy of the waitlist figures.
“Over 82,000 Victorians are still waiting for surgery according to the latest figures, yet the AMA estimates the real number could be as high as 130,000.
“There’s a serious chance the true level of demand for surgery across Greater Bendigo hasn’t been fully captured in this data.”
In addition to blow outs in local waitlists in Bendigo, Ms Cleeland said a deeper dive into the data showed a troubling long-term trend.
“Just one year ago less than 2 per cent of patients were waiting more than a year for treatment. Incredibly this figure is now over 10 per cent,” Ms Cleeland said.
“One in four people aren’t getting their treatment on time. It’s clear the system isn’t working, and it is particularly acute across our region.
“The Andrews Government’s mismanagement has driven these numbers through the roof. People in our communities deserve so much better.”