THE Wimmera’s elective surgery waiting lists remain stable despite surgery delays last year.
Wimmera Health Care Group and West Wimmera Health Service delayed their elective surgeries after the Federal Government cut more than $1.4 million from the region’s hospitals.
Group chief executive Chris Scott said more surgeries were scheduled to cope with the delay once some funding was reinstated in February.
But he said the cuts would have an on-going effect.
“Unfortunately the Commonwealth reductions will continue to apply over the next three years and have resulted in a $2 million funding shortfall to Wimmera Health Care Group,” he said.
“I welcome Health Minister David Davis’s announcement of a co-operative re-examination of the funding arrangements with the Federal Government and the possible reinstating of much-needed Commonwealth funding to the state.”
West Wimmera Health Service stopped its elective surgeries for a month-and-a-half last year.
On average the service’s patients wait eight months for eye surgery, six months for gynaecology surgery, four months for orthopaedic surgery and three months for oral and ear, nose and throat surgeries.
Patients also have to wait about three months for general surgeries, which include diagnostic procedures and key hole surgeries.
Clinical services executive director Jan Fisher said it had been business as usual since the funding was reinstated.
She said the service had to cope with higher demands for cataract surgeries as the region’s population aged.
“There are many people wanting to have that done,” Ms Fisher said. “Our eye surgeon comes an extra day a month now because of the demand.
“They are also the most rewarding surgeries because people come in with severe sight impairment and they leave seeing – it changes people’s quality of life.”
The increase follows a national trend with an average 5.9 per cent jump in the number of cataract surgies each year between 2008-09 and 2012-13.