Elective surgery will be suspended across the country, unless it is urgent, as hospitals prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday the national cabinet had agreed to halt all non-urgent surgeries, to free up hospitals and staff.
“From today, midnight, March 25, until further notice, all elective surgery other than category one and urgent – and I stress, urgent category two – cases will be suspended,” he said
“This will apply in both the public and the private hospital system. Cancellation of elective surgery will allow the preservation of resources like personal protective equipment and allow health services to prepare for their role in the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The halt was already largely in place for category three surgeries but represents a further scaling back of elective surgeries in category two.
Non-urgent (category three) is recommended treatment within 365 days of being added to the outpatient wait list.
Category two surgery is defined as a specialist consultation recommended within 90 days of being added to an outpatient wait list.
Category one surgery, which will continue in some cases, is medical care that is recommended as necessary within 30 days of being added to an outpatient wait list.
-more to come