No wait time guarantee for NSW

GUARANTEED surgery waiting times are not on the New South Wales Government's radar despite Queensland Health giving patients security about how soon they can go under the knife.

The Queensland Government has announced a "wait time guarantee" which would see urgent cases treated within a month, semi-urgent cases within 90 days and non-urgent surgeries within a year.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner would give no such assurances to patients in her state.

She said NSW was "leading the nation when it comes to reaching targets for elective surgeries being performed on time".

"The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare this year reported NSW was the best performing state for the total combined percentage of surgeries performed on time," she said.

But Ms Skinner completely overlooked the portion of the AIHW report stating NSW had the longest waiting times out of any state in Australia.

The average elective surgery waiting time in NSW was 49 days, compared to Queensland's 28-day median waiting time.

Patients waiting to have their tonsils removed in NSW wait 233 days - more than double the 99-day national average.

Knee replacements take 290 days - one-third longer than the national average of 194 days.

But Ms Skinner is focusing on the positives and making no guarantees.

"In 2013-14 there were 216,675 admissions for elective surgery in NSW - an increase of 2876 procedures on the previous year," she said.

"We're treating more patients in better timeframes and this is a credit to doctors, nurses and others in our health system."

-APN NEWSDESK



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