Agreements See More Patients To Be Treated In 2015-16
Victoria’s public hospitals will treat thousands more patients this year, thanks to the $1.38 billion in extra funding provided by the Andrews Labor Government in the 2015-16 State Budget.
The Government today published all 78 Statements of Priorities with Victoria’s hospitals for 2015-16, which outline key priorities and agreed performance targets. The Statements of Priorities with Dental Health Services Victoria and Ambulance Victoria have also been published.
This is the first time all of the Statements of Priorities with hospitals have been signed and published at once, and so soon after the State Budget.
The Government’s $1.38 billion in extra funding will support Victoria’s hospitals to meet the increasing demands of a growing and ageing population, expand and improve services and care, and reduce waiting times – which are all reflected in their commitments in the Statements of Priorities.
The 2015-16 Statements of Priorities also include a new measure to hold hospitals and health services more accountable for workplace culture, requiring them to have strategies in place to prevent bullying and harassment.
The Department of Health and Human Services today also published the Victorian Health Services Performance Report for the three months to the end of September, in line with the Government’s election commitment to publish this data by 1 November each year.
The Report shows 428,889 Victorians were admitted to hospital in the September quarter, up from 410,629 for the same period the previous year. While there were 42,981 patients on the elective surgery waiting list at the end of September, the amount of time Victorians are waiting for surgery has reduced; patients are undergoing operations sooner, and the most complex cases are being managed first.
All Category 1 urgent patients received their operations within 30 days; 77 per cent of Category 2 semi-urgent patients received their operations within 90 days; and 94 per cent of Category 3 patients received their surgery within 365 days. This compares to 93 per cent in the previous quarter and just 91 per cent last year under the former Liberal Government.
The Labor Government wants to reduce elective surgery waiting lists and has invested $60 million in an elective surgery blitz this year. The 2015-16 Statements of Priorities also includes a new performance measure for hospitals to treat their longest-waiting, most complex patients before the end of the financial year.
Every year, the July to September period experiences increased activity, and, due to a particularly torrid flu season this year, Victoria’s emergency departments were busier than usual. In the three months to the end of September, 415,937 Victorians presented to emergency departments across the State, up from 399,984 for the same period last year.
Changes have been made in the September report to improve accuracy and consistency of how emergency department waiting times are reported across the State. Previously, a number of health services were incorrectly measuring waiting times from when a patient had completed triage instead of when a patient first arrives at hospital.
The Department of Health and Human Services has today also published the Specialist Clinics Activity and Wait Time Report for the September quarter.
In the September quarter, there were 65,787 new specialist clinic consultations, and 236,093 follow-up appointments.
The Government released this data for the first time in August, to improve transparency and ensure health services actively work to reduce outpatient waiting times.
The September Report lists both median and 90th percentile waiting times for urgent and routine appointments for 19 public specialist surgical clinics such as cardiothoracic, ear nose and throat, gastroenterology, gynaecology, neurology, oncology and orthopaedics.
The Department of Health and Human Services will continue to work with health services to improve and increase their data collection for inclusion in this report. The August report only detailed 14 public specialist surgical clinics.
With a growing and ageing population, and increasing prevalence of chronic disease, hospitals are facing increasing pressure and Victorians are waiting too long for treatment.
All of the data released today confirms the need for national reform of how health is funded and delivered, in order to build a strong, sustainable and efficient health system for the future.
The 2015-16 Statements of Priorities can be found at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/sops.
The Victorian Health Services Performance Report and the Specialist Clinics Activity and Wait Time Report are available at http://performance.health.vic.gov.au/.
Ambulance Victoria’s Response Time Performance Data for the September quarter is also now available at http://www.ambulance.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Our-performance.html.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“We’re honouring our commitment to be open and transparent about hospital performance – because not only do Victorians deserve to know, it also drives our hospitals to do better.”
“We want to see Victorians treated sooner and waiting lists reduce. That’s why we’ve invested an extra $1.38 billion in our hospitals, including $60 million specifically to blitz elective surgery waiting lists.”
“These Statements of Priorities set out my very clear expectations of our hospitals. I expect them to reduce waiting times, particularly for patients with complex conditions who have waited too long already.”
“We know we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our health system, after four years of cuts by the former Liberal Government. We are seeing some improvements, but it will take time.”