Local health officials are still contending with a ballooning elective surgery backlog caused by last year's freeze on certain procedures.
New Bureau of Health Information figures reveal 125 patients were overdue at the end of 2020, up from just 10 patients who had waited longer than clinically recommended at the end of 2019.
Median wait times for non-urgent elective surgery at Wagga Base Hospital jumped to 333 days in the October to December period, an increase of 36 days from the same quarter in 2019.
In the final three months of the year, the number of patients who had their non-urgent elective surgery performed on time fell by more than a quarter from the same period in 2019, to 64.9 per cent, according to the BHI.
Wagga Base outperformed most hospitals in its peer group in terms of urgent and semi-urgent elective surgeries, such as cancer removals, with almost 100 per cent of performed on time with the help of public-private partnerships.
The federal government imposed an Australia-wide freeze on less urgent procedures in March last year, in order to free up beds for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District medical services director Len Bruce said Wagga Base had ramped up its surgical capabilities since the freeze was lifted in May.
"To give you an idea, in February we did in one month 135 more cases than in February 2020 so there is a lot of work happening," he said.
"We have created extra bed capacity at the base hospital to allow us to perform overnight surgeries. But we still have a big task ahead of us."
The MLHD's public-private partnerships see it pay for private operations, including at Calvary Hospital, for public patients when Wagga Base Hospital doesn't have the capacity to perform all of the surgery required.
"The reason for it is in rural areas we don't have access to as many hospitals as you would in a metropolitan area. So we want to collaborate with all healthcare providers to speed up patients' days of surgery if we can," Dr Bruce said.
The MLHD includes surgery it pays for in its own performance indicators when the BHI releases its quarterly report into hospital performance in NSW.
The MLHD has declined to provide the figure of how much it spends on private surgery.
Dr Bruce said public patients having their operations in private facilities increased from approximately 150 per month to 170 per month in the second half of 2020.
He said the NSW government had invested $458.5 million across the state to fast-track surgeries that were delayed due to COVID-19.
In the 2018-19 financial year, 17 per cent of Wagga Base Hospital's surgeries were performed privately, in 2019-20 it was 20 per cent, and in 2020-21 to date the figure currently sits at 18 per cent, Dr Bruce said.
However, he said the numbers themselves did not always accurately reflect surgical activity, because day-only cases are done privately to free up Wagga Base to undertake longer, more complex operations.