Victorians are waiting less time than ever before for elective surgery and urgent specialist appointments, despite huge surges in the number of people attending hospitals driven by an unprecedented flu season, new data shows.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Jenny Mikakos last week released the hospital and ambulance performance data for the September quarter and thanked our hardworking doctors, nurses and paramedics for rising to meet record demand.
The unprecedented flu season started early and hit hard with more than 66,000 laboratory-confirmed cases, meaning hospitals have had to treat far more patients than anticipated this winter. The Andrews Labor Government recently topped up hospital funding with a massive $200 million flu package.
The latest state-wide performance data shows hospitals saw 474,175 patients in EDs – 23,300 more than a year earlier. Despite this, 100 per cent of the Category 1 most urgent patients were treated immediately upon arrival.
Ambulance services also managed the largest number of emergency cases for the quarter with 78,130 Code 1 call-outs to September. This is up from 69,753 in the same quarter a year earlier.
Despite the additional pressure on hospitals, elective surgery patients received their operations quicker than ever before – with more than half of all elective patients receiving their operations within 26 days.
More than half of Category 1 urgent patients received their surgery within 10 days – well under the 30-day benchmark.
The Labor Government’s investment in streamlining access to hospital specialist clinics has also seen sustained improvement in wait times – with more than half of all urgent patients seeing a specialist within 16 days.
Our dedicated paramedics managed more than 8300 extra callouts across the state in the September quarter, arriving within the benchmark of 15 minutes for 83.3 per cent of Code 1 calls – a huge improvement from 71.8 per cent in 2014 under the Liberal Nationals.
Colac Otway Shire’s times continue to improve, with Code 1 ambulances arriving in an average 13 minutes 43 seconds – an improvement on the 15:43 arrival time a year earlier. And 70.4 per cent of Colac Otway’s ambulances arrived within 15 minutes, more than the 65.1 per cent a year prior.
The Labor Government has invested a record $1 billion to deliver more paramedics, more vehicles and more stations. This includes a big $299 million boost in the Victorian Budget 2019/20.
Quotes attributable to Member for Western, Victoria Gayle Tierney
“Victoria’s hospitals and ambulance service have done a tremendous job keeping up their high levels of patient care – during our worst flu season on record.”
“I want to thank each and every one of our incredible paramedics, doctors, nurses and other health workers for their care and dedication in treating patients quickly and efficiently despite the extra pressure.”
“We back our health and ambulance services because even during busy times like this Victorians deserve the very best care, when they need it – close to home.”