Media Release

29 June 2018

Wooldridge: Patients denied treatment to reduce waiting list before election

Friday 29 June 2018

Patients denied treatment to reduce waiting list before election

Patients across Victoria are experiencing delays receiving timely medical treatment as hospitals face pressure from the Andrews government to report low surgical waiting list numbers, in the lead up to November’s election.

Doctors are telling me outpatients at hospitals across Melbourne are being inappropriately delayed in receiving necessary outpatient appointments and subsequent operations.

The practice has been introduced because hospitals face intense pressure to reduce elective surgery waiting lists before the end of the financial year.

Non-urgent cases are not being scheduled for appointments but instead are “put in the bottom drawer” to be seen by doctors at a later time.

While urgent cases are still being booked and seen by doctors, hospital staff are telling me less urgent categories are being delayed in the lead up to the end of the financial year. The result is fewer patients on outpatient clinic waiting lists and fewer patients moving through the system onto elective surgery waiting lists.

In some cases previously included procedures are no longer being undertaken or have been reclassified and therefore not counted on the waiting list.

This is not the first time the Andrews government has attempted to fudge health statistics. As Health Minister Daniel Andrews was accused of dodgy data to make Victoria’s public hospitals look like they were performing better than they were.

As Premier he promised that health would be his number one priority – so it is concerning that people are being delayed from receiving healthcare just for his political gain.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:

“Doctors tell me there is immense pressure on hospitals to report low numbers waiting for surgery, that patients are being inappropriately delayed, and that the waiting list numbers can’t be trusted.

It’s outrageous that the Labor government is putting their political gain ahead of people getting the surgery they need.

Daniel Andrews will do and say anything to try and win the election and the manipulation of hospital waiting lists is further evidence of this.

Daniel Andrews has form on manipulating hospital waiting lists, he did this as Health Minister and is doing it again as Premier.”