Outpatient waiting list review

Friday, 15 September 2017

SA Health will undertake a comprehensive review of hospital outpatient lists to help reduce waiting times for patients and provide more accurate information for GPs.

Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Lynne Cowan, said similar work undertaken interstate and at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital had delivered significant improvements in the time patients waited for an appointment.

“Meeting the increasing demand for outpatient appointments in a timely way is an issue for health services across the world,” Ms Cowan said.

“South Australia is no different, and we know there are some specialties where people are currently waiting months, and in some cases even years, for an initial appointment to see a specialist.

“We also know that there are people on waiting lists who no longer need their appointment, because they’ve already seen a doctor elsewhere in the public system, seen a private specialist or received care in the community.

“However, when this occurs they are often not removed from a hospital’s waiting list, which extends the list and takes more time for other patients to be given an initial appointment.

“SA Health will commence with the nine most common outpatient clinics to improve the accuracy of the number of people on the waiting list and where long waits exist, reduce the time it takes for patients to see a specialist.”

Some SA Health hospitals have already commenced reviewing their waiting lists.

“For example, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has delivered considerable improvements in the time patients waited for an appointment,” Ms Cowan said.

“Waiting times for renal patients reduced by 93 per cent, from an average of 594 days to 41 days.

“It is a significant undertaking for hospital staff to comprehensively review the thousands of referrals for each clinical specialty.

Improvements in the accuracy of information for the nine priority metropolitan outpatient waiting lists are expected to be completed by mid-2018.

During this time SA Health will continue to work in partnership with the Primary Health Networks and General Practice in implementing Health Pathways that support patients being seen in appropriate timeframes.

View the nine priority metropolitan Local Health Network outpatient wait lists - September 2017 (PDF 312KB)


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