Just over 900 elective surgeries were performed at Wollongong Hospital from April to June, with 3187 patients left on the waiting list at the end of the quarter.
New figures out today showed there was a 50 per cent decrease in elective procedures at the hospital compared to the same quarter in 2019, when 1833 surgeries were completed.
However, this was no ordinary quarter, with the National Cabinet having suspended all non-urgent elective surgery from March 26 to ensure hospitals had the capacity to deal with the COVID-19 threat.
All urgent and some exceptional semi-urgent surgery were able to continue, before a staged resumption of surgical activity was allowed from late April.
The Bureau of Health Information report showed that at Wollongong Hospital, 468 urgent surgeries were completed in the three months, down just eight per cent on the same period in 2019.
Semi-urgent surgeries fell 50 per cent to 296; and non-urgent surgeries were down 92 per cent with just 49 procedures performed.
District-wide, there were 2048 elective surgeries performed from April to June - a 40 per cent decrease on last year's figures.
BHI senior director Hilary Rowell said the Healthcare Quarterly report revealed the impact of the pandemic on activity in all public hospitals.
"The number of elective surgeries performed across the state was down nearly 40 per cent, with 35,807 procedures," she said.
"At Wollongong Hospital, procedures dropped by 50 per cent, and at Shoalhaven Hospital they fell 58 per cent.
"Like the rest of the state's hospitals, the biggest drops were for non-urgent procedures."
Waiting lists also blew out across the state.
By June 30, the waiting list at Wollongong Hospital had increased by nearly 30 per cent to 3187.
At Shoalhaven Hospital just over 2200 patients were still awaiting surgery at the end of the quarter, and 2257 at Shellharbour Hospital.
Across the district, 7662 remained on the waiting list.
ISLHD Executive Director Clinical Operations Margaret Martin said caution was advised when comparing the results of April to June 2020 with any other quarter due to the pandemic.
"The local health district has worked to return to normal surgery activity levels and address the backlog of elective surgeries postponed due to COVID-19," she said.
"Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals have both returned to 100 per cent of their normal surgery caseload.
"Shoalhaven Hospital has returned to close to 100 per cent of its normal caseload last month."
The district received $15 million as part of the NSW Government's $338 million statewide investment announced in June to increase elective surgeries and focus on booking in surgeries for those patients whose procedures were delayed by COVID.
Ms Martin said this additional investment will fund more than 1250 surgical cases and 1500 endoscopy procedures.
"The LHD has engaged five private providers to carry out elective procedures," she said.
"This work has already commenced, with further to start over the next few weeks.
"In particular, the LHD is focusing on increasing the number of elective joint replacements, ENT, urology and endoscopy procedures through a combination of outsourcing to private facilities, as well as extending the district's elective operating sessions and surgery lists."
Ms Martin said the district had a number of projects underway aimed at improving surgery performance and patient outcomes, including a quality program for hip fracture care which had reduced wait times for surgery.
"This has been achieved by creating additional trauma lists at Wollongong Hospital," she said.
"There was also funding provided to create a seven-day a week orthopaedic trauma service at Shoalhaven Hospital."
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