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  • Qld govt 'lowering the bar' on health: LNP

    Author: AAP

The Queensland government will scrap Australia's first elective surgery wait time guarantee and allocate $30 million to address current wait list blowouts.

The Queensland government will tinker with a flawed elective surgery system, but the opposition has accused it of merely lowering the bar.

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Health Minister Cameron Dick on Tuesday confirmed he would scrap the Liberal National Party's (LNP) elective surgery Wait Time Guarantee program.

Modelled on a Scandinavian program, the system guaranteed patients their non-emergency procedures would be performed within nationally-recommended time frames.

A political argument began after revelations 114,000 patients had waited longer than clinically recommended for specialist appointments, before surgery, in January 2015.

In scrapping the guarantee, Labor announced interim targets while it devises a more permanent solution to the "waiting list for the waiting list".

From April, 98 per cent of category one (most urgent) surgeries will need to be performed within 30 days.

For category two (semi-urgent) and three (non-urgent) procedures, 95 per cent will need to be performed within their own clinically recommended time frames, without exemption.

"I want to set more balanced and realistic targets about what we can achieve. I'm advised by the department this is achievable," Mr Dick said.

Those targets are below what was currently being achieved, according to opposition leader and former health minister Lawrence Springborg.

"These latest gyrations from Cameron Dick are extremely interesting," he said.

Under the LNP, 100 per cent of both category one and three patients and 99 per cent of category two patients were undergoing elective procedures in time.

"Changing Australia's first ever wait time guarantee for surgical patients is going to ensure that we have thousands of Queenslanders each year waiting longer than recommended for surgery," he said.

"This is just back to the bad old days of Labor with a health system which is not focused on patients - it's focused on bureaucracy."

Mr Dick allocated $30 million between Queensland's 16 local hospital boards to address the waiting list for the waiting list - funding he said had not come about from any cuts.

"It's using the money in the most effective way possible."

He wouldn't say what kind of improvement he expected from the investment.

The plan could include redirecting patients to the private system, he said.

Mr Springborg said that money, which had been "miraculously found out of thin air", would not help those patients who had already seen a specialist and were waiting to undergo surgery.


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