More surgeries and appointments delivered for Queenslanders despite increased demand

Published Thursday, 21 September, 2023 at 12:39 PM

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • Number of patients receiving elective surgery and specialist outpatient appointments has outperformed pre-covid levels.
  • $224 million to go towards helping Queenslanders receive care sooner
  • Long wait lists numbers have also decreased

Work across the health system has seen significant results, with more Queenslanders able to receive the elective surgeries and specialist outpatient appointments they need.

This achievement is despite demand continuing to increase.

It means that Queensland hospitals are seeing more specialist outpatients and elective surgery patients than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 18.6 per cent and 2.4 per cent improvements compared to COVID levels, respectively.

Elective surgery long wait lists have also dropped by almost 20 per cent compared to 2022, with 1,507 more Queenslanders receiving the care they need and coming off the long wait list.

Across 29 specialist outpatient specialties, 26 have seen reductions in waitlists or long waits since the start of this year.

To ensure this amazing work continues and public patients can continue to access care sooner, $224 million has also been committed to boost elective surgery and specialist outpatient capacity across the state.

As part of the funding package, HHSs will receive an additional $124 million in planned care recovery funding to support elective surgery and specialist outpatient activity across the state. Each of the funded HHSs can increase their internal capacity or engage a private partner to deliver the additional appointments.

An estimated 20,000 outpatients and 30,000 elective surgery patients from across the state will receive their care thanks to the Planned Care Recovery funding.

On top of this investment, the Surgery Connect program is receiving an additional $50.5 million funding boost, taking the total investment to $100 million, to treat long-wait public elective surgery patients at private providers across the state.

This doubling of the Surgery Connect budget will provide elective procedures to about 10,000 Queenslanders during the 2023/24 financial year.

The funding boost is on top of normal funded elective surgery and specialist outpatient activity across Queensland public hospitals, and other existing programs such as ’HHS Direct’ which supports alternate pathways for outpatient appointments.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman: 

“I committed to ensuring more Queenslanders have access to the elective surgery that they need and this progress is a testament to our hardworking healthcare staff.

It is very heartening to see Queensland hospitals return to delivering more surgeries and appointments than before COVID.

"These are extremely promising signs but we know there is still more work to do, and we are throwing everything at it.

“Investing a further $224 million to the Surgery Connect and Planned Care Recovery programs will ensure more Queenslanders receive the care they need sooner.

“We know the impact wait lists have not only on our hospitals but on patients, and it’s imperative we’re meeting the community’s needs and continue putting downward pressure on waitlists.

"Increasing capacity in the public system, and partnering with private providers, will help Queenslanders get access to the care they need sooner.


This statement replaces the statement which was posted at 9:25 Thursday 21st September 2023.

Media Contact: Phoenix Campbell 0439 949 719