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Hospital Performance: Cancer surgery waiting times in public hospitals in 2012–13

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Overview

Vast majority of bowel, breast and lung cancer patients receive surgery within 30 days.

Bowel, breast and lung cancer are three of the most common cancers in Australia. This report provides information on waiting times for surgery for these cancers in the largest public hospitals which performed at least 10 surgeries in 2012–13.

Waiting time is defined as the time (in days) between being placed on a surgery waiting list and being admitted to hospital for the surgery. The report compares waiting times for planned cancer surgery (known as elective surgery) across major metropolitan, major regional and large hospitals. Emergency cancer surgery is excluded.

Surgery for malignant bowel, breast and lung cancer is usually categorised as urgent, meaning patients should receive their surgery within 30 days. But in some hospitals, a higher proportion of cancer surgery is categorised as semi-urgent, meaning patients are recommended to receive their surgery within 90 days.

The report focuses on the reporting time within which half of patients receive their surgery (median waiting times) and the time until 90% of patients receive their surgery, measured at 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 days.

The report finds that in public hospitals in 2012–13:

  • 4,533 patients received surgery for malignant bowel cancer and 88% of these surgeries were completed within 30 days
  • 8,077 patients received surgery for malignant breast cancer and 96% of these surgeries were completed within 30 days
  • 1,087 patients received surgery for malignant lung cancer and 90% of these surgeries were completed within 30 days.

Information is also available for hospitals that performed fewer than 10 cancer surgeries in 2012–13.

Infographic text

In 2012–13 346 patients waited more than 45 days for malignant breast, bowel or lung cancer surgeries spread across a number of Australian hospitals.