Fewer patients undergo elective surgery on time in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District than anywhere else in NSW, according to a recent snapshot on the state's health.
The 2018-19 Auditor-General's health report reveals the health district had the lowest percentage of patient admissions for elective surgery within clinically recommended timeframes in the last financial year.
NSW Health guidelines state that 100 per cent of urgent patients should undergo elective surgery within 30 days. Meantime 97 per cent of semi-urgent patients should have surgery within 90 days; and 97 per cent of non-urgent patients should be operated on within a year.
Only two out of 16 health districts across the state met the target for all three categories, according to the report.
In the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) almost all (99.7 per cent) urgent elective procedures were done on time. Yet only 91.2 per cent of semi-urgent and 87.3 per cent of non-urgent surgeries were within target.
That meant almost 13 per cent of patients in the latter category waited more than 12 months for an operation.
Labor's health spokesman Ryan Park said the report again highlighted the "enormous amount of pressure" the hospitals across the region were under.
"(It also) reinforces the fact that the Government's proposed $150 million in cuts to local health districts across NSW shouldn't be taking place," the Keira MP said.
"We cannot expect service levels to improve when the government is failing to ensure resources keep up with demand. These figures clearly indicate that the volume of patients is simply too much for the current resourcing level to handle and no amount of spin from the government will change that."
However ISLHD chief executive Margot Mains said more than 13,300 elective surgeries were undertaken across the district in 2018/19, with the majority of patients receiving surgery on time.
"We continue to work on strategies to improve waiting times for patients needing orthopaedic, urology and ear nose and throat surgery and the LHD has received funding to do more urology and orthopaedic surgery this year," she said.
Ms Mains said wait times would improve with the $379 million redevelopment of Shellharbour Hospital, and $434 million redevelopment of Shoalhaven Hospital.
"These redevelopments will provide more operating theatres and expanded elective surgery for the communities of the southern Illawarra and Shoalhaven."
Shellharbour Hospital was also listed in the Auditor-General's report as one of 13 projects across the state with a revised budget and completion date.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard remains tight-lipped on whether Shellharbour Hospital will continue to be redeveloped on its current site, or a new site.
But Ms Mains said discussions were continuing "regarding the revised scope of the project" after the Commonwealth government added $128 million to the state government's $251 million contribution to the project in May.