Illawarra MPs are calling for an ''elective surgery blitz'' at Wollongong Hospital after new figures released this week show waiting times are way above the state average.
The Bureau of Health Information's latest snapshot on the state's hospitals reveal an increase in elective surgery performed at the hospital from July to September - with more than 1700 procedures undertaken.
However more than 2500 patients remained on the waiting list for elective surgery at the end of September. That's 185 more people than the same time last year and 106 more people than the last quarter.
Meantime waiting times for semi-urgent elective surgery are the longest among principal referral hospitals and 14 days longer than the NSW average, according to the Hospital Quarterly report.
Waits for non-urgent elective surgery are 94 days longer than the NSW average and 142 days longer than hospitals of a similar size across the state.
Wollongong MP Paul Scully said there were three immediate steps the NSW Government could take to reduce the pressure on health services at Wollongong Hospital.
These included an "elective surgery blitz" with the goal of cutting the waiting list in half by mid next year; and refurbishing the "ghost ward" to add more beds.
Mr Scully also urged the government to commit to a construction timetable for a new health facility in Warrawong to replace Port Kembla Hospital, and a new hospital at Shellharbour on a greenfield site to take pressure off Wollongong.
"The Berejiklian Government cannot continue to ignore what is happening at Wollongong Hospital - emergency department presentation keep increasing, elective surgery waiting lists keep increasing and waiting times keep increasing - it's a recipe for disaster," he said. "The time to act is now."
Keira MP and Labor's spokesman for health, Ryan Park, said he'd be writing to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to seek an "urgent increase" in funding and staffing at Wollongong Hospital.
"It's now very clear that Wollongong Hospital urgently needs additional resources and staff otherwise we will see the situation deteriorate to the point where local residents will start having to travel outside the Illawarra to access elective surgery," he said.
"Elective surgery is not cosmetic surgery. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity to ensure people are able to function without pain and discomfort. These are local residents who are waiting on knee and hip replacements, eye surgery and surgery to remove their tonsils.
"On any benchmark it is clear that Wollongong Hospital is simply not coping with the demand.
"That's not right on the hard working doctors, nurses and health workers at the hospital and it's certainly not fair that one of the largest hospitals outside of Sydney is getting short-changed by this government."
Across the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District just over 3600 elective surgery procedures were performed during the last quarter.
Executive director clinical operations Margaret Martin said this was 220 more procedures than the same quarter last year, an increase of 6.5 per cent.
"Nearly all of the 925 urgent surgeries, 99.4 per cent, were completed on time," Ms Martin said.
Meantime 87.5 per cent of semi-urgent, and 85.1 per cent of non-urgent procedures were undertaken on time.
Ms Martin said Shellharbour Hospital performed 909 elective surgery procedures, an increase of more than 20 per cent.
"Pleasingly, 100 per cent of all urgent procedures and 99.6 per cent of all semi-urgent procedures were performed on time."