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Almost 24,000 patients have to wait longer than guaranteed surgery time

A total of 23,825 patients have to wait longer than the maximum 6-month-period to undergo one of the 14 surgeries with a guaranteed waiting time, according to the Catalan Minister of Health, Boi Ruiz. In 2013, a total of 151,009 patients underwent one of these surgeries, 3,834 more than the previous year, which represents a 2.6% increase. The number of patients who still require one of these 14 procedures in December 2013 has increased by 6% and 4,261 people, reaching 75,075 with an average waiting time of 5.78 months. On the other hand, the waiting lists for all surgeries, including the 14 specific procedures, have fallen by about 7,000 people in 2013 compared to 2012.

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21 March 2014 08:29 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- A total of 23,825 patients have to wait longer than the maximum 6-month-period to undergo one of the 14 surgeries with a guaranteed waiting time, according to the Catalan Minister of Health, Boi Ruiz. The latest figures also reveal that in 2013, a total of 151,009 patients underwent one of these surgeries, 3,834 more than the previous year, which represents a 2.6% increase. The number of patients who still required one of these 14 procedures in December 2013 has also increased by 6% and 4,261 people, reaching 75,075 with an average waiting time of 5.78 months. On the other hand, the waiting lists for all surgical procedure, including the 14 specific procedures abovementioned, have fallen by about 7,000 people in 2013 compared to 2012 while the patients’ average waiting time also decreased by 17%, from 8.79 months in 2012 to 7.29 months in 2013. The latest data also indicates that there were 31% less people waiting to undergo diagnostic tests and 2% fewer visits in the hospitals’ emergency rooms. 


The number of patients who were still waiting to undergo one of the 14 surgeries with a guaranteed waiting time rose from 70,814 people in December 2012 to 75,075 people in December 2013, representing 4,261 more patients and a 6% increase. In spite of the greater numbers of patients on the waiting lists, surgeons also performed a higher number of procedures, exactly 3,834 more, amounting to a 2.6% increase. The average waiting time for patients who underwent such surgeries stood at 5.78 months in December 2013, thus decreasing by 6.8% compared to the same time in 2012.

Among the 14 surgical procedures with a guaranteed waiting time are cataracts, varicose veins in the lower limb, inguinal hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, arthroscopies, prostate surgeries, carpal tunnel release surgeries, tonsil and adenoid surgeries, circumcisions, installations or replacements of hip prosthesis, installations or replacements of knee prosthesis, hysterectomies, repairs of the toe and surgeries for pilonidal cysts.

7,000 less patients waiting to be operated on for all surgeries included

Surgical procedures as a whole have increased by 6.4% on the previous year, with 20,096 more surgeries performed in 2012, reaching a total of 315,607. According to the latest available data, the waiting lists for all surgeries, including the 14 specific procedures abovementioned - has fallen by about 7,000 people in 2013 compared to 2012, when 188,176 patients were waiting to be operated on.

Besides, the average waiting time for patients who have already undergone the surgery decreased, from 4.87 months in December 2012 to 4.71 months in December 2013. The average waiting time for patients who have their surgery scheduled also decreased by 17%, from 8.79 months to 7.29 months. The Catalan Health Minister explained that the patients who had been waiting for 2 years had all been operated on and therefore the average waiting time had not registered significant changes.

Less patients waiting for diagnostic tests

109.675 people were waiting to undergo diagnostic tests in December 2013, 31% fewer than the 160,000 patients registered in December 2012. According to the Catalan Minister of Health, this decline is due in large part to the efforts made to schedule tests such as mammograms or scintigraphies.

The Minister also announced that in 2013, the number of primary home care visits had increased by 8,000. On the other hand, visits to primary care centres were down by about 2 million compared to 2012 thanks to ‘CatSalut Respon’ telephone assistance, to the policies on chronic illnesses, to electronic prescriptions and to the progressive introduction of distance care, one of the future challenges of the Catalan Ministry of Health, according to Boi Ruiz.

Emergency visits “have continued on the downward trend of recent years”. In the 2010-2013 period, the total decrease was set at 6%. Specifically, in 2013 there were over three million visits to the emergency rooms of hospitals, representing a 2% decrease on the previous year.

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  • One of the new surgery rooms unveiled in Barcelona's Vall d'Hebrón hospital in 2013 (by J. Pérez)

  • One of the new surgery rooms unveiled in Barcelona's Vall d'Hebrón hospital in 2013 (by J. Pérez)