Media Release

20 November 2018

Wooldridge: Ending the secrecy in health care

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Ending the secrecy in health care

The Liberal Nationals will end the secrecy behind hospital wait times and staff and patient satisfaction by publishing important new benchmarks which Labor has tried to keep secret.

Elective surgery performance data doesn’t accurately reflect the amount of time a patient spends waiting for treatment. It only measures the final part of a patients’ journey from when their specialist lists them for an operation to the time they actually receive it.

It does not measure the time it takes from the GP referral to when the patient actually receives an outpatient appointment, which can be anywhere from weeks to years. Follow-up assessments before listing are not captured at all and patients often face extended waits with little clarity or information.

Waiting list manipulation has been rife under Daniel Andrews and Labor with doctors reporting attempts to artificially reduce waiting lists such as not processing referrals and delaying appointments beyond the end of each financial year.

Daniel Andrews has form on manipulating hospital waiting lists. He was caught red handed doing it as Health Minister and he has been doing it again as Premier.

The Liberal Nationals will help Victorians get back in control of their health and treatment by introducing performance measurements, known as Referral to Treatment (RTT), to improve accountability, transparency and timely access to healthcare. RTT gives patients a genuine time frame from when they get a referral from their GP to when they receive their active treatment.

We’ll also use online technology to give patients a genuine opportunity to share their experience of the care they received at Victorian hospitals via an online platform. This will encourage positive, patient driven improvements in health care.

Patient opinion is already operating at a small number of trial sites and a Liberal Nationals Government will roll out the platform for all Victorian health services.

The Liberal Nationals will also publish results of the Victorian Public Sector Commission’s Annual People Matter Survey. The survey measures the culture of an organisation, looking at bullying, staff engagement, quality and safety, as reported by staff.

In the 2018 survey, across all Victoria’s hospitals 17% of staff said they had been bullied, and 20% of DHHS staff also report being bullied. It was revealed last year that almost 50 staff were fired from DHHS for bullying, misconduct and other inappropriate behaviour.

The Liberal Nationals will also regularly publish wait times for dental care and colonoscopies by service providers. Both areas have extended waiting times, but this information is hidden by Labor and has only been available under drawn-out Freedom of Information processes.

Labor made lofty promises about “tough new transparency laws” but failed to follow through, letting their Transparency in Government Bill 2015 languish on the Parliament’s notice paper for 3 years.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:

“Victorians deserve to know the truth about waiting times to access the treatment they rely on for their health and wellbeing.

Long wait times are concerning for a patient, but being left in limbo and not knowing when you will get treatment at all is worse.

Shining a light on hospital performance and culture will help patients get more effective and timely care and requires hospital leaders to make sure that occurs.

The Liberal Nationals will improve the care provided by our hospitals and give Victorians greater certainty and control about when they will receive the treatment they need.”