NSW new major reduction in overdue paediatric planned surgery waitlist

Significant strides have been made in reducing planned surgery wait times for paediatric patients in NSW, with Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network reporting a 92 per cent reduction in overdue planned surgeries in the nine months since the NSW Government established the Surgical care Government Taskforce.

Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) have reduced the number of children exceeding the clinically recommended time for planned surgery from 1,091 to 86, ensuring more children are receiving timely surgical care.

During this period, there was a 98 per cent reduction in the number of children waiting longer than clinically recommended for a semi-urgent planned surgery.

There was also an 89 per cent reduction in the number of children waiting longer than clinically recommended for a non-urgent planned surgery.

All urgent planned surgeries were performed on time.

Several strategies were used to address the overdue surgery waitlist during this period, including:

  • regular coordination with surgeons to maximise time in theatre
  • extending operating time on weekdays and weekends
  • running concurrent surgical lists where possible
  • employing locum doctors to assist with specialty surgeries
  • working with private hospitals to perform some lower complexity surgical lists.

On his first full day as Minister for Health Ryan Park established the Surgical care Governance Taskforce – reducing overdue surgeries from 14,000 to 2,100.

Establishing the surgical care taskforce and reducing overdue surgeries is just one of a range of measures the NSW Government is embracing to improve access to care, including:

  • rolling out 25 urgent care services to create more alternative pathways outside of our busy and under pressure hospitals
  • establishing the emergency department taskforce
  • expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists to relieve pressure on GPs
  • boosting staff and infrastructure.

Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Health Ryan Park:

“Reducing overdue surgeries has been a priority of mine, and this is why we established the NSW Government’s Surgical care Governance Taskforce in March 2023.

“I am really pleased with the results we have seen at our two paediatric hospitals, but there is still more to do.

“This has made a significant difference for the children and families relying on care from the skilful, dedicated and hard-working teams at Randwick and Westmead.

“I want to acknowledge the immense efforts of the dedicated staff at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Coogee, Marjorie O’Neill:

“To see the reduction in overdue surgeries achieved by Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick is remarkable.

“None of this progress would be possible without the dedicated efforts of clinicians and healthcare workers, who have worked so hard to perform these procedures and help ensure we are delivering timely medical treatment to children and their families.”

Quotes attributable to Director of Clinical Operations, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, Alan Porritt:

“Children needing surgery are always prioritised based on clinical urgency, with the sickest children seen first, but every effort is made to ensure patients receive their surgery within the recommended timeframe.

“In recent months, we’ve seen planned surgical activity go from strength to strength and there is no doubt this has made a significant difference for our patients and their families.

“This achievement is a testament to the commitment of our staff and their exceptional efforts to ensure the health system bounces back from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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