Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania



15 January 2021

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health

Elective Surgery waiting list challenge experienced across Australia

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Cabinet, acting on Public Health advice, made the decision to suspend all non-urgent elective surgery.

This unprecedented move placed severe pressure on elective surgery waiting lists around the country and Tasmania is no different.

These very difficult decisions were made in order to prepare our hospitals across the country, including in Tasmania, for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and this impact has been seen in the Dashboard released today.

To address this, we’ve injected a record amount of funding into elective surgery and we anticipate this will result in 8,500 additional surgeries over the next 18 months.

Labor acknowledged the difficulty the impact the national decision would have in June last year…

“And while we won’t have current numbers until later in the year, the impact of COVID-19 is undeniable, given the national decision in March to cancel most elective surgeries. “Even though some have resumed, there can be no doubt that this disruption will leave Tasmania with an even greater backlog of surgeries, presenting an even bigger challenge, not only to catch up but also to improve the health system generally”.

…yet Sarah Lovell made no acknowledgement of this impact today when responding to the Dashboard.

We know 2020 was a year like no other which presented us with some very challenging times, and we will continue to explore ways to better protect and care for Tasmanians.

While we continue to take action to address demand, Labor continues to play petty politics from the sidelines.



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