26 September 2023

Elective surgery takes cut for COVID-19

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WA hospitals are scaling back elective surgery bookings to prepare hospital capacity for a surge in COVID-19 cases and preserve face masks and personal protective equipment currently in short supply across the State.

Minister for Health, Roger Cook said no further bookings would be made for category two and three elective surgeries, procedures and dental services.

“Booked category three patients will be cancelled while category two patients will be reviewed by hospitals and treating clinicians, and if deemed urgent, will proceed,” Mr Cook said.

“Hospitals will continue with ‘category one’ surgery — defined as urgent with the potential to become an emergency.”

He said the surgery decisions had been endorsed by the Chief Health Officer.

“The scaling down of elective surgery will also increase hospital capacity and provide the opportunity for specific training for staff,” Mr Cook said.

He said the decision would also allow the redeployment of staff to key areas and increases overall preparedness in hospitals.

“I understand reducing elective surgery will cause distress for some people, however the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to preserve our personal protective equipment and free up capacity in our hospitals,” Mr Cook said.

He welcomed the high number of responses received to the recent call for additional clinical staff in hospitals and clinics.

“Workforce planning for staff managing COVID-19 patients remains an absolute priority and any members of the public with clinical skills and experience are strongly encouraged to make contact,” Mr Cook said.

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