The Specialist Outpatient Waiting Time Report (The Report) provides information about outpatient waiting times..
The Department for Health and Wellbeing has been working with metropolitan Local Health Networks, clinicians and data teams to improve the accuracy and availability of information to be included in these Reports.
About the Specialist Outpatient Waiting Time Report (The Report)
Specialist outpatient services waiting time information is being reported on a quarterly basis from 1 July 2018. Having the likely waiting time available for specialist outpatient services will support patients and their doctors making informed decisions about treatment options.
Clinicians assess how urgent a patient referral is based on information provided by the referring Doctor. The waiting times identified in the Reports do not apply to urgent referrals that need to be seen by a clinician within 30 days. The waiting times in the Reports are for routine or non-urgent or not yet assessed patient referrals that can be added to an outpatient waiting list for an appointment.
The Reports include information about patients waiting for an appointment at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Lyell McEwin Hospital, Modbury Hospital, Flinders Medical Centre, Noarlunga Hospital and Women’s and Children’s Hospital for the services they provide.
There are multiple clinics that sit under each specialty and each delivers different services. An explanation of the types of conditions seen in the Speciality Outpatient Clinics as detailed in the Report are available on the types of conditions seen in Speciality Outpatient Clinics page.
For more information about the specialist outpatient services provided by SA Health, visit the Outpatient Clinics page.
Frequently Asked Questions have been developed for patients and consumers, including people who are currently waiting for a specialist outpatient appointment at a South Australian metropolitan public hospital.
Specialist outpatient waiting times were not regularly reported by SA Health prior to 1 July 2018. Outpatient reporting is a challenge because different hospitals have different ways of collecting and reporting this information. Hospitals are working with clinical and administrative staff to improve the accuracy of reports.
As an example, on some outpatient waiting lists there may be patients waiting for an appointment who no longer need it because they have already seen a doctor or a private specialist elsewhere. If this occurs and the hospital does not know the patient has been seen, they remain on the waiting list making the list inaccurate. It then takes more time for other patients to be given a first appointment.
What is SA Health doing to improve the accuracy of the report?
SA Health will continue to work with clinicians and administrative staff to improve the accuracy of the waiting lists and develop an outpatient reporting system that will provide timely and consistent information about outpatient waiting times for metropolitan specialist clinics.
With the thousands of referrals in different systems across SA Health, this is a large task and may take some time. Until then, hospitals will continue to review their outpatient waiting lists to confirm that patients on the list still require their appointments to improve the information reported.
What is SA Health doing to ensure patients are seen in a timely manner?
SA Health is committed to delivering the best care and services to the South Australian community. We are working with clinicians and administrative staff to review outpatient waiting list information to learn what is causing the delays for patients and put plans in place to reduce the time it takes for a patient to have an appointment based on their clinical need. In some services this may mean looking at different ways to provide services.
Information about hospital outpatient waiting times was not regularly reported by SA Health prior to 1 July 2018. SA Health hospitals have a number outpatient reporting systems that have different reporting outpatient waiting list capabilities. At this time, the accuracy and consistency of the outpatient waiting time information is a challenge for hospitals and the Department for Health and Wellbeing.
SA Health recognises the importance of having accurate outpatient specialist appointment waiting times for patients and their doctors to make informed decisions about treatment options.
SA Health is committed to improving the reporting of outpatient waiting list information.
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