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In 2014–15: about 700,000 patients were admitted to Australian public hospitals from elective surgery waiting lists; 50% of patients were admitted for their surgery within 35 days; fewer than 2% of patients waited more than a year for their surgery.
People waited the longest for Ear, nose and throat surgery, Ophthalmology, and Orthopaedic surgery
Indigenous Australians experienced longer waits for elective surgery (42 days) than for other Australians (35 days)
50% of patients were admitted within 36 days, and 90% within 253 days of being placed on a waiting list
698,000 patients were admitted to public hospitals from elective surgery waiting lists
In 2014-15, Australia's public hospitals admitted almost 698,000 patients from elective surgery waiting lists (as either elective or emergency admissions).
Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the number of admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased by 1.9% on average each year. After adjusting for a change in reporting in Queensland, it is estimated that admissions would have increased by about 1.8% on average each year.
After adjusting for the change in Queensland, admissions per 1,000 population remained stable between 2011-12 and 2014-15.
Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists decreased by 0.2%. After adjusting for the change in Queensland, they increased by an estimated 1.0%.
In 2014-15, around 23% of patients were admitted for the surgical specialty General surgery (surgery on organs of the abdomen) and about 15% were admitted for Orthopaedic surgery (surgery on bones, joints, ligaments and tendons, including knee and hip replacements).
In 2014-15, the most common surgical procedure for admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists was Cataract extraction (65,000 admissions).
Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, there were large annual average increases in admissions for Total hip replacement (4.5% per year) and Total knee replacement (4.0% per year). Over the same period, admissions for Myringotomy decreased by 5.0% on average each year.
Between 2010-11 and 2013-14, the time within which 50% of all patients were admitted (the median waiting time) was stable at 36 days.
In 2014-15, the median waiting time decreased to 35 days; it ranged from 27 days in Queensland to 55 days in Tasmania.
Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the proportion of patients who waited greater than 365 days to be admitted for their procedure decreased from 2.8% to 1.8%.
The surgical specialties with the longest median waiting times in 2014-15 were Ear, nose and throat surgery, Ophthalmology, and Orthopaedic surgery (73, 70, and 64 days, respectively). Cardio-thoracic surgery had the shortest median waiting times (18 days).
C oronary artery bypass graft was the procedure with the shortest median waiting time (14 days) and Septoplasty had the longest median waiting time (214 days).
The median waiting time for Indigenous Australians (42 days) was higher than for other Australians (35 days). The proportion of Indigenous Australians who waited more than a year for elective surgery was higher than for other Australians (2.3% and 1.8%, respectively).
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