Elective Surgeries to Resume in Australia After ANZAC Day

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
April 21, 2020Updated: May 1, 2020

Elective surgery will be back on the table in Australia now that the government has procured enough medical supplies for the rest of the year, after there was a shortage at the onset of the CCP virus pandemic.

At a Parliament house press conference on April 21, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Category 2 (semi-urgent) and some Category 3 (non-urgent) surgeries will resume on April 27.

Elective surgery in Australia is categorized into three bands. The two bands that will resume after ANZAC Day are Category 2; generally recognised as surgeries that are semi-urgent and are unlikely to deteriorate quickly; and Category 3, which is regarded as non-urgent and does not have the potential to become an emergency.

The National Cabinet also included a number of other procedures such as IVF, cancer screening programs, joint replacements, eye procedures, and endoscopies and colonoscopies, among others.

Dentists will also be able to resume Category 2 procedures which include fitting dentures, braces, non-high-speed drill filling, and basic fillings.

National Cabinet will review these announcements by 11 May, to see if more elective surgeries and procedures can start.

Medical Supplies Secure

The prime minister said that Australia now has enough PPE stock and medical supplies like ventilators to meet the country’s predicted COVID-19 response until December. However, this prediction is based on Australia maintaining the current social distancing measures and travel restrictions.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr. Tony Bartone said on April 20 that the AMA’s requirement for re-starting elective surgery was that hospitals have an adequate supply of PPE for all medical and hospital staff.

“This is a necessary precursor before any surgeries are undertaken,” he said

The federal government canceled elective surgery on March 25, a day after the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee notified them of a PPE shortage.

This shortage has now been addressed.

On April 19, Federal health minister Greg Hunt announced at a press conference that the government had received 60 million masks and that they had been able to secure an additional 100 million masks between now and the end of May.

According to Hunt, the government was able to obtain 6 million more masks than anticipated and two weeks earlier than expected.

At present Australia has 6,619 confirmed cases of COVID-19.