- WA public and private hospitals to resume elective surgery next week
- Category 2 and endoscopy patients to be prioritised
- Modest start to maintain capacity in hospitals and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19
- Follows continued low numbers of COVID-19 cases
Western Australian public and private hospitals will resume a quarter of their usual elective surgery activity from Tuesday (April 28).
The decision to reinstate elective surgery in a careful and staged approach has been made possible following the success of public health measures implemented in response to COVID-19; the acquisition of significant stocks of PPE; and continued low numbers of COVID-19 cases.
The impact of elective surgery will be closely monitored and reviewed after three weeks to ensure it does not compromise the State's preparedness to meet demand for hospital services from any potential increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming months.
Category 2 patients will be prioritised, in particular those cases that were previously cancelled.
Patients will be contacted directly by the relevant hospital. In current circumstances, bookings will be made up to two weeks in advance. Patients are asked not to contact hospitals as they work through arrangements.
Category 1 surgeries have been maintained throughout the COVID-19 response and will continue to proceed as normal.
The recommencement of elective surgery will also see Breastscreen WA restart all other screening programs and the list of priority procedures agreed to at National Cabinet.
Following deliberations at National Cabinet, procedures that are recommended to be resumed include:
- screening programs (cancer and other diseases);
- post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction);
- procedures for children under 18 years of age;
- endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures;
- joint replacements (including knees, hips, shoulders); and
- cataracts and eye procedures.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"It is a testament to the early success of our response to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic within Western Australia that we are now in a position to gradually recommence elective surgery.
"The recommencement of elective surgery represents a quarter of the usual elective surgery activity - a modest start but it's part of a staged approach, to potentially be ramped up in the future.
"We are taking a cautious, deliberate and targeted approach to avoid undoing all the hard work and results we're seeing in WA as we battle COVID-19 together.
"While these disruptions have been an inconvenience to many Western Australians, by pausing the range of business as usual activities, we've all played a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and this will help steer us towards a recovery."
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"WA has been on the front foot of this so I am pleased to reach this position.
"Elective surgery patients can be assured that there are suitable processes in place to ensure their safety from COVID-19 in our hospitals.
"We will continue to track COVID-19 cases, transmission rates, and hospital impacts and respond immediately if there is a need to change our approach to elective surgery again.
"I would like to thank those on the elective surgery waitlist for their understanding of the necessary disruptions to care during the pandemic."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Health Minister's office - 6552 6500