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The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital

Australia’s busiest eye hospital revealed

12/12/2018By Myles Hume
More than double the number of elective eye procedures were performed at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH) over the past year than any other hospital in Australia, latest government figures have confirmed.

The hospital outnumbered all other medical centres across eight categories of eye surgery, including cataract, vitrectomy and corneal graft procedures, while maintaining a 24-day median wait time – 16 days fewer than the national average.

The figures feature in the recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report into elective surgery wait times for 152 procedures at 261 public hospitals in the 2017-18 financial year.

According to the report, RVEEH – the nation’s only specialist eye, ear, nose and throat hospital – recorded 11,058 ophthalmic procedures last year, with the 4,587 procedures completed at  Sydney Eye Hospital the second highest total.

An analysis of the figures shows RVEEH completed 7,483 cataract surgeries (with or without intraocular lens insertion) with a median wait time of 27 days. The Cranbourne Integrated Care Centre was ranked second in this section with 3,217.

Of the 20 public hospitals that offer corneal graft procedures, RVEEH doctors performed 123 surgeries – 94 more than the next best medical centre – and recorded the lowest medium wait time of 45 days.

In other ophthalmic surgical categories, RVEEH performed the most vitrectomy (940), trabeculectomy (309) blepharoplasty (238), strabismus (237), pterygium (265) and ectropion (189) surgeries.

Although the hospital’s ophthalmology wait times compared well with the national overall average, it ranked 16th when measured against other eye hospitals. Meanwhile, 1.6% of patients waited more than one year for surgery.

RVEEH CEO Mr Mark Petty said the hospital employed more than 100 ophthalmologists, and was the largest public provider of ophthalmology in Victoria, delivering more than half of the state’s public eye surgery.

“We have been able to increase the number of procedures due to a range of factors including improved efficiency and the opening of an additional theatre at our Eye and Ear on the Park site,” he said.

“We have met nearly all surgical [key performance indicator] targets including our surgical waiting list target. We are continuing to seek opportunities for improvement in our performance with continued reduction in waiting times and improved patient outcomes.”

According to the AIHW report, overall Australian elective surgery median waiting times had steadily risen from 36 days in 2013-14 to 40 days in 2017-18.

Face A Face

The proportion of patients who waited longer than 365 days to be admitted for their procedure slightly increased from 1.7% in 2016-17 to 1.8% in 2017-18. However, it remains lower than a rate of 2.4% five years ago.


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