AMA questions accuracy of our elective surgery waitlist

Issue: Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, says elective surgery waitlists in the Latrobe Valley have reached crisis levels. File photo


THE Australian Medical Association (AMA) has disputed the accuracy of the state government on elective surgery waitlist data, claiming the true numbers may be significantly worse than reported.

The AMA’s independent analysis also shows Victoria has the worst elective surgery backlog, with 135,000 Victorians waiting for surgery.

The figure represents a staggering 50,000 more than the state’s official figure of 85,000, and represents 44 per cent of the national backlog.

The AMA has predicted Victoria’s elective surgery backlog will continue to worsen, rising to 203,045 patients.

Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath, has expressed concerns about the AMA’s findings and the ongoing high levels of waitlists in Latrobe Valley and West Gippsland.

“Across the Valley and West Gippsland, we know that 2092 people were waiting for elective surgery at the end of 2022 financial year,” Ms Bath said.

“Despite the best efforts of our hardworking health care workers, Labor’s strategy is failing and people are languishing on unacceptably long elective surgery waitlists.”

In the AMA’s 2022 Public Hospital Report Card, president of AMA Dr Roderick McRae, stated “Victoria’s public hospitals are in crisis” and this status “pre-existed SARSCoV-2” – citing insufficient investment in staffing and infrastructure.

Ms Bath said to put the elective surgery crisis in perspective, the AMA estimated the New South Wales waitlist was 60,000 lower than Victoria’s.

“Over the last year the elective surgery waitlists for Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) and West Gippsland Health Service (WGHS) has blown out by an additional 702 people,” she said.

“Instead of improving resources and supporting our hospitals – the premier has attempted to hide his crisis by raising the acceptable performance benchmark for elective surgery waitlists.

“It’s an unacceptable situation for our communities and health care workers.

“Our hospital workers are doing an admirable job under enormous pressure, but a comprehensive and well-funded plan is needed to reduce elective surgery waitlists locally.

“The Andrews government must better resource LRH and WGHS to ease the burden on our healthcare workers.

“My focus is on supporting locals to achieve improved health outcomes and get our hospitals the resources they need to address the elective surgery backlog.

“Anyone wanting to discuss their personal concerns on elective surgery waitlists can contact my office during business hours on 51747066 or email me on”.