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Victoria's ambulance, surgery wait times start to ease

Ambulance response times and the number of people waiting for planned surgery have fallen in Victoria as the health minister says the system is recovering.



Pressure on Victoria's public health system is easing but people are still face long waits to be offloaded from ambulances, undergo planned surgery and see a dentist. 


The Victorian Agency for Health Information on Wednesday released its latest data for the July to September quarter.


Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the system was on the "road to recovery" after the COVID-19 pandemic.


"There is always more work to be done. I'm not calling time on the end of reform," she told reporters. 

Mary-Anne Thomas says the health system is on the "road to recovery" after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ambulance Victoria responded to 96,594 code one cases, its fourth busiest quarter on record.


The median response time for life-threatening priority zero ambulance callouts dropped from 9.45 minutes to 8.87 minutes over the past three months.


Median response times for high priority and lights and sirens have also fallen.


About 36.5 per cent of patients waited more than 40 minutes to be offloaded from an ambulance into an emergency department, compared to 38.3 per cent at the end of June. 


Ambulance Victoria's executive director of clinical operations Anthony Carlyon said ramping remained a source of frustration for paramedics. 


"We have seen some improvement over last quarter," he said. 


There were 470,798 presentations managed by Victorian emergency departments last quarter.


The median emergency department wait time sits at 16 minutes, down from 23 minutes at the same time last year.


The number of people on the planned surgery waiting list has fallen from 71,320 to just under 69,000 in the quarter. 


There had been a 22 per cent reduction in the planned surgery waiting list since the government announced its COVID catch-up plan last year, Ms Thomas said. 


But more people are waiting for the most serious category one surgeries - up from 2393 to 2770 over the past three months. 


The average overdue wait time for the least urgent category three procedures has risen marginally to 331 days.


People seeking public dental care are waiting 16.4 months on average. 


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