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Hospital Performance: Cancer surgery waiting times in public hospitals in 2011–12

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Summary

This technical supplement details the methods used to calculate descriptive statistics and performance indicators presented in Hospital Performance: Cancer surgery waiting times in public hospitals in 2011–12. Due to the complexity of the methods used, this supplement is targeted at individuals with technical expertise in the creation of health information.

The Authority convened a time limited expert clinical cancer surgery waiting times advisory group (CSWTAG) to assist with refining the measurement of cancer surgery waiting times. This group provided the Authority with advice on:

  • The cancers to be reported
  • The specification of the cohort for each cancer to be reported considering diagnosis codes to define each cancer, surgical procedures and elective surgery urgency categories
  • The measures of waiting time and appropriate waiting times for surgery for malignant cancer.

Hospital Performance: Cancer surgery waiting times in public hospitals in 2011–12 publishes statistics relevant to waiting times for Australian public hospitals for people who were on an elective surgery waiting list for urgent or semi-urgent surgery for malignant bowel, breast or lung cancer. These cancers were selected based on consideration of cancer incidence, the number of surgeries and if surgery is a mainstay of treatment.

Cohorts for reporting waiting times for surgery for each cancer are detailed at Appendix 1.

For each hospital the Authority has published the following statistics:

  • Number of surgeries (number of hospital separations described in the report as admissions)
  • Median waiting times for surgery
  • Percentage of patients who received surgery within:
    • 30 days
    • 45 days
    • the clinically recommended time (30 days for clinical urgency 1 (urgent) and 90 days for clinical urgency 2 (semi-urgent)).

Hospitals that took up to 60 days or 75 days to complete at least 90% of surgeries are identified in the report.

Data are reported for individual hospitals with 10 or more surgeries for a cohort. For those hospitals with less than 10 separations data are reported for those hospitals as an aggregate result for each cohort.

Where applicable, results are compared across Australia using a hospital peer classification system (Appendix 2). The hospitals covered by the report are listed at Appendix 3.

What is malignant cancer?

In the report Hospital Performance: Cancer surgery waiting times in public hospitals in 2011–12, the term ‘malignant’ refers to those cancers that have the ability to progress to more serious disease and spread to surrounding tissue or other organs, if left untreated.

Reporting cancer surgery waiting times on MyHospitals

Waiting times for surgery for malignant bowel, breast and lung cancers are reported on MyHospitals for 2011–12.

Elective surgery waiting times for 2010–11 are reported on MyHospitals for these cancers and for an additional five cancers using different cohorts. The Authority’s CSWTAG recommended further work is done to refine the cohorts for these cancers. The Authority will need to undertake this work before reporting further surgery waiting times for these cancers so these data have not been updated on the website for 2011–12.