Melburnians waiting for category-three elective surgeries will have to wait longer after restrictions were reintroduced by the state government.
The reimposed restrictions on elective surgery mean only category one and the most urgent category-two procedures will go ahead for the foreseeable future.
Premier Daniel Andrews said it was with “absolute urgency” that all unnecessary elective surgery would be suspended.
“Only the most urgent patients will be treated. That is appropriate because that will free up beds and it will free up staff. Staff is the biggest issue,” Mr Andrews said.
Stage-three surgeries include:
- Hip replacements
- Knee replacements
- Shoulder reconstructions
- Septoplasty and rhinoplasty
- Most plastic and reconstructive surgeries
- Varicose veins treatments.
There will be no changes to elective surgery in regional Victoria, but regional cases will continue to be monitored to ensure those hospitals have the capacity they need to manage any increase in presentations.
Wherever possible, surgeries that have already been booked will proceed – but for the time being, only new Category 1 and the most urgent Category 2 surgeries will be booked.
IVF treatments, such as egg retrievals, will be able to continue given the time-critical nature of these procedures and minimal impact on hospital capacity.
Massive efforts across the health system mean more than 1200 spaces for ICU and critical care beds have been created or upgraded so they are suitable for coronavirus patients.
This includes almost 800 ICU beds that are ready to go, with hundreds more ready to be rapidly scaled up as needed.
Should the demand for ICU beds increase, plans are in place to convert 1000 more critical care spaces to treat coronavirus cases within our hospitals.
This includes upgrading operating theatres, recovery and other ward areas, emergency department spaces, and if really required, more beds can be opened in modular facilities.