How much elective surgery was provided?
In 2015–16, Australia's public hospitals admitted almost 712,000 patients from elective surgery waiting lists (as either elective or emergency admissions). Data for 2015–16 for the Australian Capital Territory were not available at the time of publication.
Between 2011–12 and 2015–16 (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased by 2.4% on average each year. After adjusting for coverage changes in Queensland, it is estimated that admissions would have increased by about 1.7% on average each year.
Between 2014–15 and 2015–16 (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased by 3.8%. After adjusting for the changes in Queensland, they increased by an estimated 1.6%.
What elective surgery was provided?
In 2015–16 (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), the most common surgical specialties for patients admitted from public hospital waiting lists were General surgery (surgery on organs of the abdomen) and Orthopaedic surgery (surgery on bones, joints, ligaments and tendons, including knee and hip replacements), which accounted for 23% (161,000 admissions) and 15% (108,000) of admissions from waiting lists, respectively.
In 2015–16, the most common surgical procedure for admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists was Cataract extraction (68,000 admissions).
Between 2011–12 and 2015–16, there were relatively large annual average increases in admissions for Total hip replacement (5.6% per year) and Total knee replacement (4.8% per year). Over the same period, admissions for Myringotomy decreased by 3.6% on average each year.
How long did people wait for elective surgery?
Between 2011–12 and 2015–16 (excluding the Australian Capital Territory), the overall median waiting time (the time within which 50% of all patients were admitted) was relatively stable. In 2015–16, the median waiting time was 37 days-compared with 36 days from 2011–12 to 2013–14 and 35 days in 2014–15.
Between 2011–12 and 2015–16, the 90th percentile waiting time increased from 250 days to 260 days. Over the same period, the proportion of patients who waited longer than 365 days to be admitted for their procedure decreased from 2.7% to 2.0%.
The surgical specialties with the longest median waiting times in 2015-16 were Ophthalmology, Ear, nose and throat surgery, and Orthopaedic surgery (78, 74, and 67 days, respectively). Cardio-thoracic surgery had the shortest median waiting times (17 days).
Coronary artery bypass graft was the procedure with the shortest median waiting time (13 days) and Septoplasty (to fix a deviated septum) had the longest (209 days).
The median waiting time for Indigenous Australians (43 days) was higher than for other Australians (37 days) and a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians waited more than a year for elective surgery than other Australians (2.3% and 2.0%, respectively).
Preliminary material: Foreword; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Symbols
- What's in this report?
- What data are reported?
- What terms and methods are used?
- Additional information
2 How much elective surgery was provided?
- Key findings
- How many public hospitals provided elective surgery?
- How many patients were added to or removed from elective surgery waiting lists?
- How many admissions were there from waiting lists?
3 What elective surgery was provided?
- Key findings
- Surgical specialties
- Surgical (indicator) procedures
4 How long did people wait for elective surgery?
- Key findings
- How did waiting times vary across states and territories and by type of hospital?
- How did waiting times vary by surgical specialty?
- How did waiting times vary by surgical (indicator) procedure?
- How did waiting times vary by Indigenous status?
- Performance indicator: Waiting times for elective surgery-waiting time in days
- How did waiting times differ by clinical urgency category?
5 What was the safety and quality of the care?
- Key findings
- Adverse events reported for elective surgery admissions
- Unplanned readmissions following admission from elective surgery waiting lists
Appendix A: Data quality information
Appendix B: Technical notes
Appendix C: Public hospital peer groups
End matter: Glossary; References; List of tables; List of boxes; Related publications