By Peter Foley
THE State Government has promised more operations and shorter waiting lists for emergency and elective surgery at Ipswich Hospital.
Health Minister Stephen Robertson yesterday announced funding for a new operating theatre at the hospital, one of four new theatres in Queensland.
Mr Robertson also announced an Australian-first surgical robot for Royal Brisbane Hospital to treat serious prostate cancers.
THE Health Minister said that apart from cutting waiting lists at Ipswich, the new operating theatre would take pressure off surrounding hospitals.
"At Ipswich, $4.2 million on-going funding will be provided for a sixth operating theatre," Mr Robertson said yesterday.
"This will provide an additional five dedicated emergency and five elective surgery operating lists per week, including one urology, one general surgery, one ear nose and throat and two orthopaedics lists.
"The extra elective surgery lists at Ipswich will result in an additional 500 procedures per year.
"More people will be able to go to Ipswich Hospital and that should take the load off other hospitals. It will assist us to help go through the lists more quickly."
According to Queensland Health's public hospitals performance report, 57 category two and 462 category three patients were on Ipswich Hospital's "long wait" list in 2006/2007.
Last April, the number of patients waiting for surgery was 2495 with 465 on long wait.
In January, those figures changed to 2716 and 586 and by April this year there was 575 long wait patients and 2742 overall.
Meanwhile, Mr Robertson said the Royal Brisbane Hospital's new surgical robot would allow urology patients to be treated quicker, meaning shorter hospital stays.
"But it also offers significant opportunities in other surgical sub-specialties, with potentially wide-ranging applications in Queensland," Mr Robertson said.
What do you think? Email Peter.Foley@qt.com.au.