Victorian public hospital operating theatre efficiency

Expected to be tabled in October 2017


Objective: To determine whether Victorian public hospital operating theatres are being fully utilised.

Issues: Operating theatres are complex, expensive resources that are critical to delivering good public health outcomes. In Victoria, 60 public health services manage 290 operating theatres, of which 237 are generally available on any given day. Of those 60 health services, 23 delivered 178 384 reportable elective surgeries in 2015–16 across 39 hospitals they managed. As at 30 September 2016, the elective surgery wait list sat at 41 143 persons with a median wait time of 28 days. The health system faces rising demand for service from a growing and ageing population which is expected to outstrip funding growth. Victoria reports federally on several accessibility measures for emergency and elective surgery and, while the state’s performance varies across the measures, on balance Victoria’s accessibility is on par with national averages.

The audit has the potential to improve the efficient usage of operating theatres in Victoria by identifying good practice and barriers to performance. It is timely to conduct the audit now given anticipated demand increases and constrained funding, along with recent interstate audits identifying inefficient practices in this area.

Proposed agencies: DHHS, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Alfred Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and Austin Hospital.