A federal parliamentary committee that was formed to look into the costs of healthcare, met in Adelaide, and had heard the demand for breast reduction surgery, which is extremely high and has no system of prioritising patients.
This meant that a woman who though has a valid reason for wanting her breasts reduced has to wait just as long, sometimes longer, than women wanting smaller breasts for aesthetic reasons. Women who were in need for the surgery for reasons of health were being forced to wait for almost up to 20 years for surgery, causing them significant health problems.
Adelaide's Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) explained to the committee that women with very large breasts experienced neck and back pain so severe that they were often forced to take time off work. They further said that the women also suffered rashes under their bust and found it difficult to exercise, which led to further health problems, including increased cardiovascular risks. The FMC also stated that women in need for abdominoperineal surgery also faced similar kinds of problems.
They explained that the abdominoperineal was a necessary procedure for some patients who had lost large amounts of weight, because the excess skin made it difficult to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In South Australia, there is a five to 10 year waiting period for public patients wanting breast reduction or abdominoperineal surgery to be referred to a specialist for assessment, the FMC said. They further said that once a specialist approves the procedure, then there is a subsequent wait of up to 10 years for the surgery to be performed.
The FMC called for a system of prioritising patients to ensure those with the biggest health risks received the surgery first. They also called on the government to decide so as to let patients who were given low priority, would be advised to take treatment from a private hospital. This they felt would then free the resources in the public hospitals for those who had significant health problems from their large breasts or overhanging abdomens and mean that those who really needed the surgery could actually receive it.