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How can we improve waiting time for elective surgery in Australian public hospitals?

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Abstract

This paper presents preliminary results from a study on waiting time for elective care in Australian public hospitals. It uses available data published in Australia to test the hypotheses that public beds and hospital staffing (specialist surgeons and enrolled nurses) influence waiting time for elective surgery in Australian public hospitals. We extracted data from the National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection (NESWTDC) and analyse waiting times for 8 specialty surgeries in Australian public hospitals. Hospital beds, nurses and specialist surgeons are used as proxies for the endogeneity of waiting times in a multiple regression analysis. Our results show that available hospital beds negatively influence waiting times ( in Model 1). Interestingly, the number of nurses ( in Model 1) and specialist surgeons in Model 2) positively influence waiting times. We conclude that physical resources such as available hospital beds are significant; to improve waiting times, hospitals should be adequately funded.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series Discussion Papers Series with number 387.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:387

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  1. Styrborn, Karin & Thorslund, Mats, 1993. "`Bed-blockers': Delayed discharge of hospital patients in a nationwide perspective in Sweden," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 155-170, December.
  2. Diane Dawson & Hugh Gravelle & Rowena Jacobs & Stephen Martin & Peter C Smith, 2005. "The effects on waiting times of expanding provider choice:evidence from a policy experiment," Working Papers, Centre for Health Economics, University of York 001cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  3. Richard D. Auster & Ronald L. Oaxaca, 1981. "Identification of Supplier Induced Demand in the Health Care Sector," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 327-342.
  4. Luigi Siciliani, 2005. "Does more choice reduce waiting times?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 17-23.
  5. Stephen Martin & Peter Smith, 1995. "Modelling waiting times for elective surgery," Working Papers, Centre for Health Economics, University of York 024cheop, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  6. Martin, Stephen & Smith, Peter C., 1999. "Rationing by waiting lists: an empirical investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 141-164, January.
  7. Luigi Siciliani & Jeremy Hurst, 2003. "Explaining Waiting Times Variations for Elective Surgery Across OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
  8. Jeremy Hurst & Luigi Siciliani, 2003. "Tackling Excessive Waiting Times for Elective Surgery: A Comparison of Policies in Twelve OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 6, OECD Publishing.
  9. Iversen, Tor, 1997. "The effect of a private sector on the waiting time in a national health service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 381-396, August.
  10. Hugh Gravelle & Peter C. Smith & Ana Xavier, . "Waiting Times and Waiting Lists: A Model of the Market for Elective Surgery," Discussion Papers 00/27, Department of Economics, University of York.
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