Archive image of surgeons performing an operation / sur

Covid pandemic increases delays for surgery and consultations in Malaga province’s public hospitals

In Andalucía as a whole, there were 135,008 patients on the surgical waiting list on 30 December 2021 (11,669 more), with an average delay of 134 days

Ángel Escalera
ÁNGEL ESCALERA Málaga

The fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is the main reason why the average delay for surgery has increased in five of the six public hospitals in the province of Malaga: Regional (formerly Carlos Haya), Costa del Sol de Marbella, Antequera, Axarquia and Serranía. It has only fallen at the Virgen de la Victoria Clinic, going from 110 to 66 days, according to data posted on Thursday on the Andalusian Health Service (SAS) website for 30 December 2021.

On that date, there were 21,048 patients awaiting surgery in Malaga province (1,073 more than six months earlier), with an average delay of 124 days (three more than that recorded on 30 June last year).

The SAS response time to be seen for a first specialist consultation has also increased in five of the six hospitals mentioned. The only one that has managed to reduce the response time is the Serranía hospital in Ronda, which has gone from 121 to 111 days. At the end of 2021, there were 203,640 patients in Malaga waiting for a first specialist consultation (26,584 more than six months ago), with an average delay of 104 days compared to 94 days in June 2021.

Operating theatres closed in August

The arrival of the fifth wave of the pandemic last summer, is related to the increase in both the number of people waiting for an operation and those waiting for a first hospital consultation, as priority was given to patients with Covid who needed to be admitted, which led to a decrease in care for other illnesses, combined with the fact that cases of coronavirus shot up to coincide with the holidays of health professionals. In addition, it is common for operating theatres to be closed in August.

In Andalucía as a whole, there were 135,008 patients on the surgical waiting list on 30 December (11,669 more), with an average delay of 134 days. Awaiting a first specialist consultation were 873,047 people (152,441 more), with an average delay of 105 days (17 days more).

The SAS hospital in the province of Malaga with the longest average surgical delay is the Regional hospital, with 208 days, compared with 174 days six months earlier. At the end of 2021, the former Carlos Haya hospital had 7,892 people awaiting surgery.

The situation in the regional hospitals

The delay at the Costa del Sol in Marbella was 68 days (14 days longer) with 3,557 patients awaiting surgery; at the Antequera regional hospital it was 106 days (one day longer) with 1,263 patients. The wait at the Axarquía regional hospital was 85 days (20 days longer) with 1,622 people on the waiting list, and at the Serranía regional hospital it was 70 days (20 days longer) with 1,165 patients awaiting surgery.

Of the 21,048 patients that the SAS includes on its waiting list for surgery in Malaga, 12,904 correspond to conditions whose response time should not exceed 90, 120 and 180 days, i.e. three, four and six months. The average time it takes for these users to be operated on is 83 days, which is less than the Andalusian average, which on 30 December last year was 95 days. Of these 12,904 patients, 1,400 cases had exceeded the stipulated period and had not yet undergone surgery.

As for patients whose illnesses do not have a specific timeframe for surgery, there were 8,144 patients in the province of Malaga at the end of 2021, with an average delay of 190 days. Across Andalucía as a whole, the figure was 48,526 patients and the average delay was 203 days.