Opposition calls for minister's scalp after claims more than 2,000 die awaiting surgery in NSW

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has demanded the incoming premier sacks the health minister, after a report indicated thousands of people were dying while waiting for surgery.

More than 2,000 people died in NSW while awaiting elective surgery according to a new report that found wait times in the state are the worst in the country.

"When you look at the figures ... there's an open-and-shut case for a new health minister, and frankly, Ms Berejiklian should find no place in her cabinet at all for Jillian Skinner," Mr Foley said on Sunday.

He said he expected Ms Berejiklian to kick Ms Skinner off her front bench.

Half of those waiting for surgery are being admitted after 55 days, 18 days more than the national average, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner. Source: AAP

The report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also found that with the longest wait times, 10 per cent of patients are waiting 328 days, or 68 days more than the average.

There were 2,234 patients on waiting lists that either died or could not be found while, the newspaper has reported.

Half of patients in the state were waiting 49 days for elective surgery in 2011-12, only to see that number swell to 55 days in 2015-16.

NSW Labor health spokesman Walt Secord said the report was "damning", taking aim at under-fire Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

"Under NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner's watch, health has gotten worse in NSW," Mr Secord said.

"Patients wait at every stage. They wait for an ambulance, they wait in emergency departments, they wait for a bed and then they wait for surgery."

AMA president beleives there is too much pressure on emergency departments. Source: AAP

A spokeswoman for the minister said the state had the best turnaround times for patients admitted within clinically appropriate timeframes, achieved in 97.1 per cent of elective surgery cases.

She said this was achieved "despite the fact NSW, at 217,817, has by far the largest volume (of patients)".

The spokeswoman also said the state health system had implemented different models of surgery and care that aim to "concentrate suitable planned surgical cases in dedicated high-volume, short stay surgical units".

More than 2,000 people have died in NSW while awaiting elective surgery. Source: AAP

Australian Medical Association NSW president Professor Brad Frankum suggested there was too much pressure on hospitals having to deal with elective and acute surgery.

"The performance of NSW does not appear to be improving, according to that report, in recent times," he told the newspaper, adding it was concerning to see NSW falling behind other states.

Professor Frankum said more federal funds were needed to provide better care in hospitals beyond 2019, a view backed by the federal Labor Party.

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