Claims by the State Opposition that Coffs Harbour patients face the longest wait times in Australia for elective surgery are being refuted.
Claims by the State Opposition that Coffs Harbour patients face the longest wait times in Australia for elective surgery are being refuted.

Elective surgery wait times ‘are still being met here’

ELECTIVE surgery waiting times in Coffs Harbour became a political battleground prior to the State election.

The State Opposition claimed local patients faced the longest wait times in Australia, a suggestion strongly refuted by local health officials and New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said an increase of $6.7 million under the O'Farrell Government had assisted the hospital to meet its surgery targets for urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent operations.

"Coffs Harbour Base Hospital is performing well across all categories of elective surgery," Mr Dowrick said.

"Staffing levels at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital have increased each year since the formation of the Mid North Coast Local Health District in 2011."

In polar opposition, ALP health spokesman Dr Andrew McDonald said a Bureau of Health Information report highlighted an "elective surgery crisis on the North Coast".

Dr McDonald said hip replacement times had gone from 266 days to 299 days, tonsil removal from 130 days to 264 days, while cataract removal took nearly a year.

Health Minister Skinner referred to the claims as "a Labor lie".

"Data released this week shows Coffs Harbour Base Hospital performing exceptionally well in all categories of elective surgery," Ms Skinner said.

Mid North Coast Local Area Health figures state that 100% of urgent surgeries in Coffs Harbour were performed within 30 days.



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