SESLHD steps up to achieve elective surgery success

This time last year, surgical teams at SESLHD hospitals were faced with the significant challenge of managing increased waitlists following the suspension of non-urgent surgery by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 1 July 2020, there were more than 1,700 overdue elective surgeries in SESLHD. Comparatively, on 1 July 2021, there were just 109 patients overdue.  

Kim Olesen, Acting Executive Director of Operations, SESLHD, said during the past 12 months, staff across the District had worked tirelessly to provide patients whose surgery had been delayed with timely access to care.

“It has been an enormous operational undertaking by all of our hospitals to not only catch up surgical cases on waiting lists, but to manage new patients,” Ms Olesen said.

“In response to the notable increase in number of patients waiting for surgery, in July 2020 the NSW Ministry of Health announced a $388 million dollar stimulus package, helping support our hospitals implement innovative strategies.

“At 30 June 2021, there were no overdue patients at the Royal Hospital for Women or Sutherland or Sydney/Sydney Eye hospitals.

“Similarly, Prince of Wales and St George hospitals balanced particularly complex workloads to significantly reduce the number of patients overdue, expertly managing surgeries based on clinical priority.

“These incredible outcomes could not have been achieved without herculean efforts by our waiting list managers and operating theatre staff including, surgeons, anaesthetists and senior surgical managers, nurses and domestic services.

“Though the past year has been extremely challenging, staff should be very proud of their work – I encourage them to reflect on what has been achieved.

“It’s also pleasing to see a number of new system efficiencies that will ensure patients and staff continue to benefit from our high standards of care,” Ms Olesen said. 

Theatre staff wearing scrubs