Elective surgery access

How long patients wait to for admission from elective surgery waiting lists is a measure of the accessibility of elective surgery.

Waiting times measure the amount of time elapsed from a patient being ready for surgery to their admission for the procedure.

Access to elective surgery is affected by demand for elective surgery, the number of surgeons available, clinical factors such as how urgently the surgery is required, and patient factors such as where they live.

Impact of COVID-19 on waiting times for elective surgery

The information in this section should be interpreted with reference to the restrictions applied to elective surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years. Under these restrictions in the 2019–20 financial year, only Category 1 and exceptional Category 2 procedures could be undertaken. These restrictions were eased (but not fully lifted) from 29 April 2020, allowing all Category 2 and some important Category 3 procedures to be performed. Following the second wave of COVID-19 cases in June 2020, some jurisdictions continued to restrict elective surgery.

This section presents waiting time information for 2020–21 and for other recent years.

Additional information on waiting times for elective surgery by Indigenous status, socioeconomic status and remoteness area are also presented for 2020–21.