Non-urgent elective surgeries postponed

Published Saturday, 08 January, 2022 at 02:28 PM

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Queensland’s public hospitals are postponing all non-urgent elective surgeries until March 1.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the decision to postpone category 3 and some category 2 elective surgery had been made to help ensure the system had sufficient capacity to deal with the expected peak of Omicron cases in coming weeks.

“Throughout the pandemic, our healthcare services have continually adapted to meet demand and deliver life-saving care,” Minister D’Ath said.

“Postponing non-urgent elective surgeries is an unfortunate but necessary step to ensure Queenslanders can continue to access urgent and critical healthcare if and when they need it.

“Our public hospitals will also be looking to either postpone, or deliver by telehealth, all non urgent outpatient appointments, whether new or follow up, for the same period of time to enable our valuable workforce to be redeployed to support critical service delivery.

“Emergency and trauma surgery and category 1 urgent planned surgery will proceed as normal as will critical services like chemotherapy and renal dialysis.

“Our healthcare workers are continuing to work hard to respond to this unprecedented demand on our services.

“We need to do what we can to help our frontline heroes, particularly when, as expected, more and more of our healthcare workers will be away from work due to being infected with COVID-19 or quarantined as a close contact.

”These changes will ensure we still have enough staff available to continue providing essential healthcare to the Queenslanders who need it.”

Minister D’Ath said the decision mirrored the national postponement of routine elective surgery in the early part of the pandemic in 2020, with the same types of surgeries postponed, including for example, hip and knee replacements, cateracts and tosilectomies.

“We will review the situation at the end of January, to determine if we are in a position to recommence non urgent category 2 and 3 elective surgeries earlier than planned,” she said.

“As part of our long-standing COVID response plan we are working to harness private sector capacity to support our COVID-19 response.

“Options being considered include using private bed capacity for public patients.

”We will continue working with our private hospital partners to finalise these arrangements so they can be implemented over the coming days.”

Hospitals will be contacting all patients with planned non-urgent elective procedures to discuss their individual circumstances and a rescheduled appointment.

Media contact: 3035 6100