Elective surgery admissions rise 1.8%

WAITING times for elective surgery in New South Wales have nearly doubled in the past three years, while new admissions were steady in most areas, new data revealed on Friday.

The latest elective surgery report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed waiting times rose from 39 days to 50 days from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

Nationally, there was a 1.8% rise in admissions for elective surgery with admissions rising in NSW, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, and dropping in most other states.

The ageing population was found to be a key driver of elective surgeries in 2012-13, with almost one in four admitted for general surgery on organs, and one in seven for orthopaedic surgery (bones and joints).

Delays for elective surgery averaged 36 days for half of all patients, about the same as in 2011-12, but the median waiting times jumped by 33 days across the country between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

The amount of time it took to complete surgery on 90% of patients also jumped from 219 days in 2008-09 to 265 days in 2012-13.

Just 3% of all patients awaiting surgery had to wait more than a year, largely unchanged for the period.