Lismore Base cuts surgery waiting list
By ZOE SATHERLEY
THE number of people waiting more than 12 months for surgery has dropped at Lismore Base Hospital.
NSW Department of Health figures released yesterday show at the end of June there were 149 patients who had been waiting more than 12 months for surgery.
This compares with 681 people listed at the end of June last year.
Chris Crawford, chief executive officer of the North Coast Area Health Service, said he was pleased to see major inroads being made into surgery waiting lists.
However, he conceded the drop was due mostly to a concerted effort to tackle cataract surgery, which accounted for the majority of those on the waiting list.
Mr Crawford said patients needing more lengthy, costly and difficult orthopaedic surgery for hips, knees and shoulders would be the next group to be targeted.
"We have set aside $1 million exclusively for orthopaedic surgery over the next year," he said.
"I also anticipate a further contribution towards orthopaedic surgery from the State Government before the end of the year."
Mr Crawford said that the current dispute with hospital anaesthetists was not yet having a major impact on surgical waiting lists.
He said although most of the hospital's anaesthetists had refused to renew their contracts over a pay and conditions dispute, the health service had now advertised for new doctors to replace them.
Advertisements have been placed in major metropolitan newspapers to fill the 16 anaesthetist positions.