IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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



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.

Suggested Citation

  • Merehau Cindy Mervin & Sukhan Jackson, 2009. "How can we improve waiting time for elective surgery in Australian public hospitals?," Discussion Papers Series 387, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:387

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Martin & Peter Smith, 1995. "Modelling waiting times for elective surgery," Working Papers 024cheop, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    2. Hugh Gravelle & Peter C. Smith & Ana Xavier, "undated". "Waiting Times and Waiting Lists: A Model of the Market for Elective Surgery," Discussion Papers 00/27, Department of 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. 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.
    5. Luigi Siciliani & Jeremy Hurst, 2003. "Explaining Waiting Times Variations for Elective Surgery Across OECD Countries," OECD Health Working Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 001cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    8. 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.
    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. Luigi Siciliani, 2005. "Does more choice reduce waiting times?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(1), pages 17-23.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:387. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SOE IT) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.