A study conducted by the Australian Health Review has revealed that hospital waiting lists and times are not getting any shorter, and this could be having a negative impact on patient health and quality of life.
Dr Julie Walters, who hails from the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia, said that "government policies aimed at reducing waiting have had limited success". It is hoped that this study will shed some light on which areas need to be improved.
The study specifically looked at waiting times in Australian public hospitals as they applied to total hip- and knee-replacement surgery.
Communication issues and friction between different sections of the hospital system, the mismanagement of cancellations resulting in administrative tasks having to be repeated, and the high overall demand for hospital services were some of the areas highlighted by the study as causing the most problems.
“Addressing the identified barriers through targeted reforms has the potential to improve system function and the efficiency of elective surgery delivery. This will result in improved quality of life for patients and a broader community benefit through improving the value of our investment in public health care,” said Dr Walters.
More work may need to be done in our public hospitals before patients can expect more efficient processing and shorter waits for surgical procedures.
In the meantime, you can do your bit to help relieve the strain on our public hospitals by taking out a private health insurance policy. Having one of these means you can be treated as a private patient in either a public or private hospital.
If you're interested in finding out more, HICA can offer you advice and help you compare health insurance plans, so you get the policy that best suits the needs of you and your family.