Strategy to improve wait lists
6 September 2016
Queenslanders will have shorter waits for a specialist outpatient appointment thanks to a Queensland-first initiative and a significant funding injection by the State Government.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick today announced the $361.2 million Specialist Outpatient Strategy.
“A lot of excellent work has already been done over the past year and a half.
“Eighteen months ago, some 100,000 Queenslanders were waiting longer than the clinically recommended time for their first specialist outpatient appointment. That figure is now 58,436 (as at 30 June), and the list has been halved.
“That’s a great achievement, but it’s just as important to ensure those people still on the lists do not have to wait any longer than necessary to get the treatment they need,” Mr Dick said.
Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said as part of this statewide initiative, CHQ had achieved a key objective, by significantly reducing the number of Queensland children waiting longer than clinically recommended for a specialist outpatient appointment.
“From January to June 2016, this waiting list reduced from more than 5,500 to approximately 2,400,” she said.
“This notable improvement was achieved through a range of initiatives, including running Saturday clinics, implementing innovative models of care led by allied health and nursing staff, and establishing a centralised administration audit and patient engagement team.
“In March 2016, we contracted Queensland Health’s Health Contact Centre to support patients and families by confirming booked outpatient appointments via SMS and phone calls. This improved average outpatient appointment attendance rates, which increased from 85 per cent attendance to 91 per cent. This ensured approximately 30 children per week could receive new specialist appointments at the hospital,” Ms Dougan said.
Mr Dick said the Specialist Outpatient Strategy is a key component of providing the public health system in Queensland with real direction under the My Health, Queensland’s Future: Advancing Health 2026 plan.
“As part of our commitment to improving the health of Queenslanders, we are investing in more specialist outpatient appointments and fixing the known problems in a key part of the patient journey, that being the process from a GP clinic and referral to actually accessing specialist services,” Mr Dick said.
“We want patients to spend less time waiting for specialist appointments, to have more control over their own healthcare and experience a contemporary and connected healthcare system — not to be languishing on a ‘wait list’.”
The statewide Specialist Outpatient Strategy has a targeted and realistic approach to reducing the number of people waiting longer than clinically recommended for their first specialist appointment. Two Waiting Time Summits were convened last year in a bid to come up with real solutions to public hospital problems.
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