Demand for surgery is rising in response to a growing and ageing population. Health services need to run their operating theatres as efficiently as possible if they are to meet this rising demand, and reduce waiting lists, with their current resources. They also need to balance competing demands from elective surgery and emergency surgery for limited theatre resources.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) oversees and funds health services to deliver surgery and other treatment. DHHS leads health system planning, including capital investment and funding allocation to hospitals.
In this audit, we examined whether Victoria’s operating theatres are being used efficiently and whether DHHS’s leadership of the health system is driving efficiency. We audited DHHS and four health services—Alfred Health, Austin Health, Melbourne Health and St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.
In the course of this audit, we compiled a new dataset that enabled new performance analysis and benchmarking not previously available in Victoria. We also examined policy and reporting documentation used by the health services and DHHS.
We made 11 recommendations in this audit—10 for DHHS and one for health services.