More than 81,000 Victorians are now waiting for elective surgery, but we have no idea of how many of those are here on the Border.
On September 15, 2021, in the Victorian Parliament, I asked the Victorian Health Minister to provide the number, and wait times for, Category 2 and Category 3 elective surgery patients at Albury Wodonga Health. The Minister is expected to reply within four weeks.
Almost five months later there is still no answer.
Albury Wodonga Health is a Victorian run health service under the stewardship of the Victorian Government. Despite my requests there are no publicly available waiting lists that include the Albury campus where most acute services are provided.
Wodonga Hospital’s Category 2 waiting list has increased by 33% in the 12 months, with Category 3 patient numbers rising by more than 20% in the second half of last year alone. Public patients are now waiting more than 2½ years for dental care. We need to get a handle on Albury’s wait list.
The average overdue wait time for Category 2 patients at Wodonga has more than doubled with patients now waiting more than seven months for surgery. These surgeries are generally expected to be done within 90 days. Category 3 patients are waiting 19 months or more than seven months longer than recommended.
With 95% of Victorians aged over 12 double-vaccinated and those in hospital with COVID-19 falling, the restrictions that only allow 50% of normal levels at private hospitals and day procedure centres must also be lifted.
Comments from Member for Benambra Bill Tilley
“Albury Wodonga Health tell me that no one in the urgent Category 1 elective surgery is waiting more than the 30-day benchmark but I fear our wait times for Category 2 and 3 elective surgery may even be greater than the Victorian average.
“The way forward, the solution to reducing numbers and wait times can only come from knowing how many people there are, how long they are waiting.
“We need to get elective surgery up and running to help those who are in pain and with no idea when they will get vital life changing treatment.”