18 May 2023

The NSW Surgical Care Taskforce met yesterday for the first time where its members outlined priorities to improve the delivery of surgical services and reduce the state’s elective surgery waiting list.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park met with several of the Taskforce’s members, including the Co-Chairs, ahead of the meeting.

“This taskforce represents just some of the best and brightest of our state’s clinical workforce,” Mr Park said.

“It is made up of a group of leading clinical, logistics and operations experts which will look at measures to reduce the backlog of elective surgeries.

“I’ve asked the Taskforce to report back to me in 3 months to update me on its progress.”

The Taskforce was announced by Premier Chris Minns and Minister Park in April and represents some of the state’s leading clinical experts, working in both the public and private health sectors.

The Taskforce will be chaired by Professor Neil Merrett, Program Director of Surgery for South Western Sydney Local Health District; and Mr Matthew Daly, Deputy Secretary, System Sustainability and Performance for NSW Health.

Professor Merrett said the Taskforce will examine a range of strategies aimed at reducing the number of people who wait longer than clinically recommended for their surgery. 

“Our network of clinical and operations experts bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table and will build on our existing surgical services committees and programs to help support our healthcare workers to reduce planned surgery wait times,” Professor Merrett said.

“The taskforce will examine a range of best-practice models, including by safely increasing day only surgery, boosting virtual care and remote monitoring of patients, enhancing systems of referrals and assessment of patients by multidisciplinary teams, and by maximising the efficiency of operating theatres for planned surgery.”