“In September 2021, a total of 11,456 users were waiting in LIC [List of Subscribers for Surgery], which corresponds to a decrease of 187 users, compared to the previous month [-1.6%]. When these data are compared with those of the same month of the previous year, there is also a decrease of 6.1% (740 fewer users)”, the document, published on the website of the Regional Directorate for Health, reads.

According to the monthly follow-up report of the Central Unit for the Management of Patients for Surgery of the Azores, for September 2021, among the three hospitals in the region, only the Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo (HDES), in Ponta Delgada, reduced the number of users on the waiting list, in relation to August, by 3.2% (265 users).

The largest hospital in the region is also the one with the most patients on the surgical waiting list (8,063).

Compared to September 2020, both the HDES and the Hospital da Horta (HH) registered decreases of 6.1% and 15.3%, respectively, while the Santo Espírito da Ilha Terceira Hospital (HSEIT) increased the number of users on its list by 6.2%.

The number of surgical proposals on the waiting list also decreased in September, totalling 13,163, this means 281 (2.1%) less than in August and 418 (3.1%) less than in September 2020.

Looking at the surgical specialties, otolaryngology (-10%) and ophthalmology (-4.5%) registered the greatest reductions in proposals waiting, in the space of one month, while orthopedics was the specialty with the greatest growth (2.4%) .

Ophthalmology, orthopedics and general surgery are the specialties with the largest waiting list in the Azores, “representing 61.3% of the total surgical proposals” on hold.

The average waiting time for surgery in the Azores was 527 days (nearly a year and a half) in September, 67 days less than in August and 14 days less than in the same period of the previous year.

Ilha Terceira Hospital was “the only hospital unit that increased the number of waiting days” (28 more days compared to 2020), with a reduction of 91 days in HDES, compared to August, and a reduction of 91 days in HH, compared to 2020.

It is at Ponta Delgada Hospital that you wait longer, on average, for a surgery (591 days). In HSEIT it is 394 days and in HH 306.

In the three hospitals, the average waiting time for surgery is "above the regulated maximum guaranteed response times (TMRG)", which stipulate that a surgery with normal priority is performed in a maximum of 270 days.