The number of people waiting for non-urgent elective surgery in NSW has topped 80,000, Bureau of Health Information data shows.
The figure includes 2,231 people who are waiting at John Hunter Hospital for procedures including cataract removal, knee and hip replacements, gall bladder removals, hernias and tonsillectomies.
The Opposition seized on the September to December 2018 quarter figures arguing they showed the government was driving the public health system into the ground.
However, the government says the waiting list reflected increased resourcing and the number of procedures that were being performed.
The non-urgent elective surgery list at John Hunter Hospital included 1062 people waiting for orthopaedic surgery; gynaecology (426); knee replacement (371); neurosurgery (315); ear, nose and throat (295); hip replacement (173); hysteroscopy (81); cystoscopy - urinary bladder (77); and tonsils (59).
While the average wait for non-urgent elective surgery at John Hunter Hospital is below the state average, there were 33 patients on the list who had been waiting longer than a year at December 31.
"Elective surgery waits in Newcastle and the Central Coast are absolutely unacceptable," Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said.
"While the Berejiklian Government may describe cataract removal and knee and hip replacements as non-urgent, they are urgent to an elderly patient who is unable to drive or read a newspaper due to failing eye sight or because they cannot walk to the shops because of knee and hip problems."
A NSW Health spokesman said the government spent about $1.5 billion on surgery last year and would invest an additional $76 million as part of its election commitment for more elective surgery (cataracts and paediatric).
"In 2017-18 more than 97 per cent of patients in NSW had their elective surgery within the time frame recommended by their doctor. This is the best on-time surgery performance in Australia," he said.
"In NSW public hospitals, more surgery was performed last year than the year before and we will do more this year than we did last year. More than 226,000 people had elective surgery in 2017-18 and additionally around 100,000 had emergency surgery in our hospitals.
"It is important to understand that a 'waiting list' is not an 'overdue list'. It simply means the number of people booked in to have their surgery.
"It stands to reason that if we are doing more surgery every year, more patients will be scheduled for surgery every year. It does not mean those people are overdue for their surgery."