Outpatient Waiting Lists

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will ensure you and your doctor have more information about clinic waiting times.

The Problem

If you are referred by your GP to a specialist outpatient clinic at a public hospital, the Weatherill Government provides you with no information on how long you will have to wait for your first consultation.

But for many patients, it can take more than three years before an initial consultation.

Then, if you need surgery, you may have to wait another year before you get it.

For many people the time taken to determine what treatment is necessary causes uncertainty and personal anxiety, even if the required surgery is designated as ‘elective’.

Other states have taken action to keep people better informed about outpatient waiting times, but not South Australia.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will ensure you and your doctor have more information about clinic waiting times.

Specifically, we will:

  • Release information on outpatient clinic waiting times by specialty and hospital, on a quarterly basis from 1 July 2018. This information will make it possible for you and your doctor to have an informed discussion on treatment options given the likely timeframes.
  • Work with health services to develop and release robust and reliable data showing how many patients are being treated and the proportion treated within the clinically recommended timeframe for their level of urgency.
  • Work to ensure specialist outpatient waiting time data is reported nationally.

Providing more information to patients and doctors will enable them to make better informed choices about treatment.

Lack of information denies patients the opportunity to assess all the treatment options available to them.

For example, you may be happy to wait to be treated at your local public hospital. On the other hand, you may prefer to travel further if that means being treated sooner.

Knowing how long you may need to wait could encourage you to take other action to minimise pain and discomfort, at least while you wait.

For example, a patient waiting for an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon for knee surgery may choose to see a physiotherapist in the meantime, using Medicare or extras on health insurance.

In examples like this, the provision of more information can help you access a broader range of services, reduce discomfort as you wait and improve your health and wellbeing.

Part of our plan for SA