Elective surgery waiting lists not only focus: doctors

Dr Shaun Rudd.
Dr Shaun Rudd.

AS politicians have been locked in fiery debates over elective surgery wait times, doctors say this should not be the only focus.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Shaun Rudd said the best possible health outcome was about getting patients access to specialists in a timely manner.

"Measures to address the long waiting list for specialist appointments need to be considered in addition to the surgical wait time guarantee, not instead of it," Dr Rudd said.

Both sides of the Queensland Parliament were in fierce debate on Wednesday after crossbenchers supported the LNP Opposition's motion to keep its wait time guarantee policy.

It meant the motion was passed but Labor has no intention of keeping the policy.

Dr Rudd said the wait time guarantee was a "welcome measure" and set target for hospitals and assured patients that their surgery would be conducted within clinically-recommended timeframes.

"We've seen a reduction in the number of people waiting for elective surgery, and we are glad to see the guarantee supported in parliament," Dr Rudd said on Wednesday.

He said improved communication between GPs and hospitals also helped reduce waiting times for elective surgery.

In Parliament on Wednesday Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg called for the government to adhere to what the Parliament agreed to and keep the wait time guarantee policy.

But Health Minister Cameron Dick said waiting lists were more than just surgery and wanted to focus on the broader picture.

He said the motion was not binding and that the wait time guarantee policy was a "gimmick".

Caloundra MP Mark McArdle slammed the minister and said the LNP might not be able to bind them legally but would bind them morally.

Topics:  elective surgery health hospitals politics

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