The Baird Government’s scrapping of 291 targets and using vague language is an amateurish attempt to hide their failure in a number of areas including the State’s growing health crisis; childhood obesity and domestic violence.

This morning, the Baird Government confirmed its was reducing from 321 measures to 30 priority areas in the State Plan, which measures and audits State Government performance in a range of areas including health. 

While it locks in the target of 81 per cent of patients waiting less than four hours in emergency departments rather than the higher national target of 90 per cent, it will no longer mention targets for elective surgery waiting times and emergency department triage times. 

In the period April-June 2015, Statewide, 169,701 (27 per cent) of 628,525 patients waited longer than four hours in emergency departments; at the same time, 31,426 patients waited up to 12 hours. 

As for elective surgery, NSW lags well beyond comparable jurisdictions and changing wording does not help patients.  NSW is twice as long as the Australian average and even longer than Canada and Europe. 

Currently, there are 73,063 NSW patients waiting for elective surgery; many of them on the Central Coast and in western Sydney. 

  • For cataract removal, NSW patients waited a median 238 days compared with the Australian median wait (91 days); Canada (46); England (59) and New Zealand (88). 
  • For a hip replacement, the median wait in NSW was 190 days compared to Australia (116); New Zealand (99); Canada (87) and England (82). 
  • For a knee replacement, the NSW median wait for a knee replacement was 296 days compared to: Australia (184); New Zealand (111); Canada (106) and England (87).

In reality, NSW waiting lists are even longer because the Baird Government uses waiting lists to get on to the waiting list. In Western Sydney, the wait for cataract surgery is up to four years. 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The NSW health system should be about patients — not creative accounting.”

"With the NSW health and hospital system under enormous pressure, patients have to wait at all stages, whether it is in an emergency department or for surgery. “

“Patients wait for an ambulance; they wait outside the emergency department in an ambulance; they wait inside the emergency department for treatment and then they wait for a bed.

“Changing the wording in the State Plan does not help patients.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord

"With the health system stretched to breaking point, the Baird Government should be properly resourcing the health and hospital system rather than creating new language so they can claim a Clayton’s victory.”

 “This is the human cost of the $3 billion in health cuts by Mike Baird.”