News & Trends - Medical Technology

College of Surgeons appalled by government’s decision to continue elective surgery

Health Industry Hub | March 27, 2020 |
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MedTech News: The National Cabinet, acting on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, extended the temporary suspension of elective surgery for private hospitals from 25 March to 1 April 2020.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is appalled by the federal government’s decision to extend the deadline for category 2 and 3 elective surgeries at private hospitals.

“We are disappointed to hear that hospitals are being asked to continue non-critical surgery at a time when we must be putting the safety of patients and staff first. The federal government has made a reversal of their previously sensible decision to cancel all elective surgery except for urgent cases.

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“We are seeing decision making that can only be described as putting commercial interests before patient safety. Many of our surgeons who work in private hospitals are appalled and refusing to operate on non-critical cases. We want to see leadership from the federal government that puts people’s safety first,” says RACS President Tony Sparnon.

Healthscope and Ramsay Health Care will be restarting elective surgery for this period, with the exemption of elective ENT and dental maxilla-facial surgery at Healthscope hospitals.

Every patient waiting for elective surgery is assessed as Category 1, 2 or 3 per the following definitions:

  • 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.

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