Illawarra Newsroom

Surgery waitlists blowout across Illawarra Shoalhaven


The state opposition is demanding the Government stop hiding behind the impact of Covid-19 and fix record-long waitlists for elective surgery that have blown out to 364 days across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District.

The latest Bureau of Health Information figures show that from April to June the median wait times for non-urgent elective surgeries at Wollongong Hospital reached 449 days which is one of the longest waitlists in the State. 

Shadow Health Minister and member for Keira Ryan Park said the Government lost control of the issue years ago and the pandemic isn’t to blame. 

"The Government only has itself to blame for the elective surgery backlog.

"The reality is the NSW public health system was under enormous strain before elective surgeries were suspended.

"This crisis has been years in the making.

"People are being left behind, in pain because of this Government’s mismanagement and neglect," Park said.

Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said the government needs a better strategy.

"It's appalling that such a large regional hub continues to operate under such enormous strain.

"The Government needs to urgently implement a long-term, sustainable plan to reverse years of under allocation of resources from bureaucrats in Sydney," Scully said.

ISLHD Executive Director of Clinical Operations Margaret Martin said 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.

"Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals have both returned to 100 per cent of their normal surgery caseload.

"Shoalhaven Hospital returned to close to 100 per cent of its normal caseload last month," Martin said.

The report revealed that almost 100 per cent of all urgent elective surgeries were performed on time during the period.

Wollongong Hospital had a 100 per cent record with all 468 urgent elective surgeries performed on time.


Emergency department presentations at hospitals across the Local Health District reduced dramatically during the pandemic.

The stats show presentations dropped overall by 22.4 per cent over the quarter.

Wollongong's ED saw a 20.5 per cent decrease on the same period last year, Shellharbour had just over 18 per cent less presentations while Shoalhaven Hospital witnessed a 22.9 per cent drop.

Images: Travis Winks