Health Progress Chart Reveals a Strong Health System Fri 28 September 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health More than 15,600 Tasmanians are enjoying a better quality of life after receiving elective surgery last financial year, Minister for Health Michelle O'Byrne said. Ms O'Byrne said the latest Your Health and Human Services Progress Chart revealed strong results for elective surgery, emergency departments, breast cancer screening and ambulance response times, despite budget pressures. "This past year has been a challenging time in health and we have had to make some tough decisions but the skill and commitment of our health professionals has minimised the impact on patients," she said. "There has been an impact but not as great as many forecast - in 2011-12 there were 688 fewer admissions from the elective surgery waiting list, a fall of 4.2 per cent. "The waiting list itself grew by 87 people or 1.1 per cent." Ms O'Byrne said the Chart shows that over the past year the median waiting time for elective surgery fell by seven days at the Mersey Community Hospital and remained stable at the Launceston General Hospital. The median waiting time increased by just two days at the North West Regional Hospital and four days at the Royal Hobart Hospital but all four hospitals remain well below the national benchmark of 48 days. "It is no surprise that the numbers admitted from the waiting list have decreased over the past year as we have moved to put health spending on a sustainable footing," Ms O'Byrne said. "But the number of Category 1 patients seen on time fell only marginally at the LGH and the NWRH while actually increasing at the RHH and at the Mersey in line with our strong commitment to treat the most urgent cases first. "Given the size of the savings task, these are extremely good results which are a testament to the hard work, diligence and commitment of our staff." The Progress Chart also shows the percentage of patients seen within recommended time frames in the State's four public hospital Emergency Departments improved or remained steady in all categories over the past year. "These results are backed up by the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on emergency department care, also released today, which showed Tasmania was performing well. "Tasmanian patients' median stay in the ED is shorter than the national median stay and we are on par with or above the national indicators in every measure. "We were the second best performing State last year in terms of the proportion of ED visits completed within 4 hours, at 66 per cent. The national target is 90 per cent by the end of 2015." Ms O'Byrne said the Progress Chart also shows encouraging results in our cancer screening program with the number of women screened and the percentage called back for further assessment within 28 days both remaining steady. "Ambulance Tasmania continues to perform well in the face of high demand, with response times holding steady at just over 11 minutes," she said. "And although the waiting list for dental services is growing, we provided significantly more episodes of care in all categories in 2011-12 than we did the year before."The latest edition of the Your Health and Human Services Progress Chart is available at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/performance.