COVID-19: The latest information on Coronavirus

Non urgent surgery suspended

The Federal Government has suspended elective surgery except for urgent cases involving cardiac, cancer and pregnancy.

The new measures were announced on Wednesday 25 March by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a news conference at Parliament House Canberra.

It means that only Category 1 and some Category 2 surgeries will go ahead. All others will be suspended until further notice.

Elective surgery categories are defined by the Prime Minister’s office as the following:

  • Category 1 – Needing treatment within 30 days. Has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point where the patient’s situation may become an emergency
  • Category 2 – Needing treatment within 90 days. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly and unlikely to become an emergency
  • Category 3 – Needing treatment at some point in the next year. Their condition causes pain, dysfunction or disability. Unlikely to deteriorate quickly.

The main reason, according to the Prime Minister, for the cancellations of most elective surgery is to help save the supply of health masks and other sanitary supplies in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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," Mr Morrison said.

The cancellations will take place from midnight tonight.

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