The workload of NSW GPs managing patients requiring elective surgery may not be alleviated by news that waiting times in NSW public hospitals increased from an overall average of 39 days to 50 days over the past three years.

The data comes in the latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the federal agency providing information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

The report, Australian hospital statistics 2012-13: elective surgery waiting times, is available from the AIHW.  

It shows that waiting times for some of the commonest procedures, including the age-related categories of hip and knee replacement (195 days and 297 days of waiting in NSW, respectively) and cataract removal (232 days) were higher in this state than in other jurisdictions, and well above the national average.

Australia's public hospitals admitted about 673,000 patients from elective surgery waiting lists in 2012-13, an increase of 1.8 per cent over the previous year. NSW was one state to experience a rise.

Almost one in four patients was admitted for General surgery, and about one in seven for Orthopaedic surgery.

While the total proportion of patients waiting more than a year to be admitted for surgery remained unchanged at around 3 per cent, information on waiting times by clinical urgency category was not comparable between states and territories, AIHW’s Nigel Harding said.

State/Territory health ministers, working under a funding incentive agreement with the Commonwealth to improve surgical efficiency, had agreed to improve the consistency of reporting by clinical urgency categories, he added. This followed recent recommendations from the AIHW and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

Also see the ABC report, New national elective surgery scheme not cutting waiting times: report.