Objective: To determine the waiting times for non-urgent appointments with specialist medical practitioners in private practice.
Methods: A telephone survey of specialists selected randomly by the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health was conducted. The waiting times for non-urgent appointments were measured, and the results were grouped by specialty and analysed.
Results: Waiting times to see various physicians and surgeons did not differ substantially. There were significantly longer (P < 0.002) waiting times for urological surgeons (median, 25.5 days) and for women obstetricians and gynaecologists (median, 40 days) than for other specialists.
Conclusions: The average waiting time to see a specialist surgeon or physician for a non-urgent condition in private practice is acceptable by current community standards. However, the longer waiting times suggest that there are too few urologists and women obstetricians and gynaecologists.