NSW latest overhauling surgeries to reduce overdue wait list

​The NSW Government is revolutionising the way surgery is delivered to reduce the overdue wait list, by embracing short stay and same day surgeries.

The Same day and Short stay Joint Replacement Program allows patients to return home the day after their surgery when clinically appropriate.

This program provides an alternative care pathway for orthopaedic surgery patients.

It is based on research which shows that with the right pre and post-operative care, patients can be supported to recover at home, without the need for lengthy hospital stays.

All patients involved in the pilot receive comprehensive prehabilitation or ‘pre-hab’, which provides support prior to surgery, as well as post-operative in-home care.

Eligibility for this type of surgery is determined via a thorough screening process completed by a multidisciplinary team.

It’s hoped the pilot will result in a better patient experience and faster recovery times, whilst also boosting capacity in our busy hospitals.

The pilot was one of the key programs overseen by the Surgical Care Taskforce established in the early days of the NSW Labor Government to take pressure off our hospitals.

Joan Reid underwent same day procedures for her knee surgeries.

She had her first surgery on 23rd August 2023 (Left Total Knee Replacement) and her second surgery on 20th February 2024 (Right Total Knee Replacement) at the Sutherland Hospital.

On both occasions Joan was able to zreturn and recover from the comfort of her home that very same day.

She continued to receive support from clinicians and health workers as an outpatient, instead of spending weeks in the hospital.

While this joint surgery pilot program is promising, we are already starting to see promising increases in short stay surgeries for other procedures.

Between May and October last year, the proportion of sinus surgeries conducted as same day increased from 41% to 46%, to 363.

Meanwhile, same day septoplasties increased from 52% to 62%, to 669, and same day tonsillectomies increased from 23% to 36%, to 623.

This is just one of a range of measures the NSW Government has implemented to improve access to quality care and reduce wait times, including through:

  • boosting staff and infrastructure
  • creating more pathways to care outside our busy hospitals via HealthDirect and urgent care services
  • reducing overdue surgeries by safely increasing short stay surgeries
  • empowering pharmacies to prescribe low complex medications, relieving pressure on our GPs.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Ryan Park:

“People waiting for surgeries longer than clinically recommended are often waiting in pain and discomfort.

“We want to reduce overdue surgeries so that people can receive the lifechanging treatment they need and enjoy life.

“We want patients to be able to safely recover from the comfort of home, where it is appropriate and safe to do so.

“By doing this, we are boosting the capacity in our busy hospitals, improving patient flow and reducing wait times for others.”

Quotes attributable to Joan Reid:

“You know, when they first asked me about day surgery, obviously I went oh gee, I don’t know. How do you go with that? And it just turned out really well.

“Being in my own home for recovery was great because I’ve got everything that’s familiar with me my own bed. I know the layout of everything here.

“Rather than sitting in a hospital bed and trying to get round a ward. It was more comfortable, I was more relaxed. Therefore I felt the recovery would be quicker. And it was and being in my own home just made it so much more easier and comfortable.

“My recovery was really well smooth and I had the support of the hospital staff and the doctors and of course the physiotherapy even though I did it as an outpatient.”

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