Lismore Base Hospital.
Lismore Base Hospital. Cathy Adams

1576 patients awaiting elective surgery at Lismore

LISTS for elective surgery at Northern Rivers hospitals has grown, new data has shown.

Murwillumbah and Lismore have reported some of the longest waits for elective surgery in NSW rolling in at 7th and 12th places in the state, respectively.

As of December 31, 2015, there were at least 5,160 patients on the North Coast waiting for elective surgery.

The average number of days wait for elective surgery for Lismore stood at 304 days, with 1576 patients waiting.

For Ballina these numbers stood at 130 days and 253 patients; for Casino 127 days and 216 patients; for Murwillumbah 326 days and 747 patients; and for Tweed 259 days and 973 patients.

Overall, last year, elective surgery lists grew in NSW; waits were longer and fewer procedures were undertaken.

Elective surgery includes cataract removal; orthopaedic surgery; knee replacement, hip replacement; tonsillectomies, gall bladder, ear, nose and throat surgery, urology, gynaecology and hernia procedures.

At Lismore the average wait for a knee replacement was 337 days; a hip replacement 265 days, cataract removed 272 days, and tonsillectomy 161 days.

NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Richmond MP Justine Elliot today said the health and hospital system was under enormous pressure and patients were suffering due to the long waits.

Mr Secord and Mrs Elliot were responding to the release of the latest information on the NSW hospital system, particularly, waiting times in emergency departments and waits for elective surgery. It measured information from more than 80 hospitals during October to December 2015.

As of December 31, 2015, elective surgery lists grew in NSW from 71,762 to 73,304 - an additional 1,542 patients, Federal and State Labor said.

"Patients in the North Coast have some of the longest waits for elective surgery in Australia," Mr Secord said.

"Sadly these are not just numbers, they have a human face. They are thousands of mothers, fathers, children and grandparents who rely on the health and hospital system."

"The Nationals have promised upgrades to NSW hospitals, but we have only heard excuses."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said hospital staff were working very hard "but they can only do so much".

"This is the result of massive cuts to health and hospitals at the State and Federal levels," Ms Elliot said.

"In NSW alone, the Baird Government has slashed more than $3 billion from health and hospitals. In addition, the Turnbull hospital has slashed more than $50 billion from health and hospitals."

"In NSW, patients wait at every stage. They wait for an ambulance. They wait outside hospital to get into the emergency department. They wait for a hospital bed and then they are rushed out of the hospital before they are fully recovered."



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