Median waiting time
National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection
About the measure
This measure provides median waiting times, for elective surgery by urgency category.
Elective surgery is planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment resulting in placement on an elective surgery waiting list. Once patients are assessed by a surgeon and assigned an urgency category, their surgery is booked and the details entered into the elective surgery waiting list (the waiting list).
The urgency categories provide recommended times within which surgery should be performed. The categories are: Category 1 (surgery recommended within 30 days), Category 2 (surgery recommended within 90 days), or Category 3 (surgery recommended within 365 days).
The cohort for this measure includes all patients on the waiting list who were removed from the list in the relevant financial year.
Calculating the measure
‘Number of surgeries’ refers to the number of elective and emergency admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists.
The median waiting time is the number of days within which half of the patients (50%) were admitted for their elective surgery. The calculation of waiting times excludes: any days the patient was waiting with a less urgent elective surgery category than their urgency category at removal, and people who were transferred to another hospital’s elective surgery waiting list, were treated elsewhere but not on behalf of the hospital, were not contactable, died prior to receiving their surgery, or declined surgery.
Data are presented for the period in which the patient was admitted.
Only data which met certain criteria are included in the calculation. The criteria for calculating and presenting results are:
- Valid dates for: addition to waiting list, admission as an emergency or elective patient for awaited procedure
- A valid urgency category
- 10 or more surgeries in the category (in the denominator).
Data are prepared according to the National Healthcare Agreement (NHA) indicator PI 20a–Waiting times for elective surgery: waiting times in days. Data are reported on this website for the Performance and Accountability Framework (PAF) indicator Elective surgery patient waiting times by urgency category. The PAF indicator has the same definition as the NHA indicator, and is reported at hospital level and peer group level. Peer group, state and national-level data are available in Elective surgery waiting times 2017–18: Australian hospital statistics (AIHW, 2018).
View the data specification on Australia’s metadata online: