Alan told he could wait five years for surgery as Cook Government announces millions to reduce waitlists
One patient who needs back surgery has been warned he may be waiting five years to go under the knife as WA continues to face an elective surgery crisis.
Feeding his chooks and doing a bit of housework is about as much as Alan Strahan can cope with.
A workplace accident left Mr Strahan crippled with a back injury but he is still waiting for surgery after being accepted on the Fiona Stanley Hospital’s pain management waitlist as a category two patient in July.
“It was 118 days when they cancelled my surgery,” he told 7NEWS.
“I asked them why obviously and they said they’d lost 60 per cent of their funding had been stripped away from them. They were doing six surgeries a week and that they would now have funding to do two to three a month.”
Mr Strahan said the hospital told him he could be waiting for his surgery for two to five years.
A Health Department spokesperson said the number of surgeries at the pain management clinic fluctuates monthly.
Mr Strahan’s wait comes as the Cook Government announced on Monday a further $40 million investment in a bid to cull the elective surgery waiting list.
The additional cash, to be contained in next month’s Mid-Year Review, will allow WA Health to continue the catch-up blitz with about 6000 extra procedures over the next six months.
The number of patients on the waiting list reached 54,090 in May last year — shortly after the borders reopened — but had dropped to 45,488 as of October, a reduction of 8602.
However, Opposition Health Minister Libby Mettam said the wait list had only fallen as the Cook Government adopted a new method to count them.
“The government claims numbers on the elective surgery waiting list has fallen by eight thousand six hundred. That’s because it’s adopted a new method for counting them, the official list published by the health department show no real reduction at all,” she said.
“The fact the government are using a new metric now to measure the elective surgery wait list raises real suspicions.”
Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said, “there’s no other jurisdiction that is actually making in roads into their elective surgery lists like we are in Western Australia”.
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