Health report ignores positive data Sun 17 March 2013 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health Michelle O'Byrne today rejected reports of a 'blow out' in Tasmania elective surgery waiting lists. Ms O'Byrne said the most recent data showed waiting lists are similar now to what they were two years ago and Tasmania was performing better than a number of other States. "Tasmania's median waiting time for elective surgery actually fell throughout 2012 to 35 days which was better than in New South Wales, the ACT and the Northern Territory," Ms O'Byrne said. "Most States have fallen short of many of the targets set for elective surgery but there has been no blow out in waiting lists in Tasmania. "The Tasmanian Government has been upfront about the need to save money in the health system and made a temporary reduction in elective surgery during 2011-12. "Since then the Government has allocated $4m for increased endoscopy and elective surgery procedures, while the Australian Government has committed $31.2 million over four years for about 2,600 additional surgeries for those patients who have waited longest for surgery. The Productivity Commission's 2013 Report on Government Services Shows that Tasmania's recurrent spending on public hospitals per head of population is 5% above the national average. Ms O'Byrne said descriptions of a "three class system" in the report by Mr Martyn Goddard were alarmist and unscientific. "This is offensive and denigrates hospital staff who so work hard to deliver good results. "We have to live within our means because of the budget challenges we face and the Government is continuing to make our health system more efficient and reduce costs," Ms O'Byrne said.