The number of Queenslanders waiting more than 90 days for semi-urgent surgery has fallen by almost 50 per cent over the past two years, according to a January 27 governmental media release.
In the March quarter of 2012, more than 4,900 Queenslanders were recorded on the 'long wait' list for semi-urgent surgery in public hospitals in the state. This number had fallen by 2,191 people (44 per cent) in December 2013.
Additionally, the number of patients who had waited longer than 30 days to receive urgent surgery in a public hospital in Queensland decreased by 55 per cent, from 185 in March 2012 to 84 in December 2013.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg attributed the extraordinary result to the dedication and hard work performed by doctors, nurses and hospital staff across the state.
"We have a long way to go but we have also made major advances with policies that empower and value our workforce at hospitals throughout Queensland," he said.
While urgent and semi-urgent surgery wait lists continue to be reduced, Mr Springborg has reassured residents the state government will begin to address long wait times affecting those requiring non-urgent surgery.
“While the figures represented an extraordinary turnaround in Queensland Health, they are still of little solace to those still not receiving surgery on time," he said.
"That is why I will be looking at the tried and tested policies, modelled on the world renowned Scandinavian free health system in countries such as Denmark, that give patients a 'Surgery Guarantee' so we can build on the successes we are already seeing emerge in Queensland."
The Danish model allows patients who cannot be guaranteed surgery within an adequate time frame to be given the option of using a private hospital while the government covers the cost of surgery.
Under this plan, it is likely patients will still be liable to pay for accommodation and other medical expenses that arise from their time in the private hospital.
It is therefore recommended to purchase private health insurance before this initiative comes into action.
Most private health insurance policies will cover the cost of accommodation and medical treatment in a private hospital, while also giving patients the choice of when and sometimes where they receive care. This can give policyholders the ability to avoid public waiting lists for their surgery needs.
If you would like more information on how private health insurance can help you avoid public waiting lists, contact the team at HICA today.
HICA is a trusted health insurance broker who can offer an obligation-free quote and health insurance comparison to help you choose the policy that best suits your requirements.