Elective surgery wait times being met in Gladstone

A NEW State Government guarantee on waiting times for elective surgery won't benefit Gladstone Hospital, as wait times are already being met.

But the hospital's chief executive wants to see an increase in the types of surgery available at Gladstone, so patients don't have to go elsewhere.

The Queensland Government yesterday announced that from February 1, 2015, all patients ready for elective surgery would have their procedure within the medically recommended time

If a hospital and health service cannot provide surgery within this time, the patient will be offered the next available appointment in a public or private hospital at no cost.

Patients who do not receive their surgery within the medically recommended time will not have to pay for any travel or accommodation costs if they are treated more than 50km from their original hospital.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Len Richards said it was a safety net and a guarantee to patients.

"But in Gladstone we have a good service for surgery and there won't be a dramatic change."

What would change in the future is the types of surgery offered in Gladstone, he said.

"There are some centres in central Queensland where patients do have to wait longer, but this will be eradicated by December."

Mr Richards said the next step was to invest in clinical services to increase Central Queensland's capacity to do more types of general surgery.

"We want to expand services to offer a wider range of surgical procedures in Gladstone so people don't have to travel."