Specialist Outpatient Waiting Time Report frequently asked questions

How accurate is the report?

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.