The State Liberals today committed to provide South Australians needing elective surgery and their health professionals with wait time information for outpatients clinics to help them better manage their health and wellbeing.
Currently, if a patient is referred by their GP to a specialist outpatient clinic at a public hospital, they usually fly blind as to how long they will have to wait for their first consultation.
State Liberal Leader, Steven Marshall, said "Patients need clear and reliable information about how long they will wait for the surgery to make informed choices about their health care."
"Knowing how long you may need to wait for an operation could enable you to consider other opportunities to minimise pain and discomfort, at least while you wait."
Stephen Wade, Shadow Minister for Health and Wellbeing, said that this is the first step of what will be a comprehensive strategy for the reform of elective surgery in South Australia.
"Outpatient clinics are the gateway to elective surgery and the Weatherill Government is deliberately concealing how long people are forced to wait for the critical first consultation," said Mr Wade.
"Under the Weatherill Government people needing surgery often wait longer to get an outpatient appointment than to get the surgery.
"For many patients, it can take more than three years before an initial consultation. Then, if you need surgery, you may have to wait another year before you get it.
"South Australia currently does not release data on outpatient waiting times. It is a hidden waiting list.
"We will make South Australia’s health services more transparent, responsive and accountable.
"In the past week Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data has shown that South Australia is the only jurisdiction in Australia where the amount of elective surgery has gone down in the last year and over the last five years.1
"The Advertiser has also revealed manipulation of elective surgery waiting lists which hides just how many South Australians are waiting longer than they should for critical surgery."
1 http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129559636 p81