Latest News

22 April 2020

Dear Members / Trainees

 

Please see message below and a link to the joint media statement from Brendan Murphy & Nick Coatsworth, authorised by Greg Hunt, on the easing of certain elective surgery restrictions.

 

We will be in touch with further detail as this becomes available.

 

Kind regards,

Federal Secretariat 

 

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Click here for the full media release in PDF

 

Minister Hunt’s office issued the media release regarding the easing of elective surgery restrictions.

The Prime Minister’s office has also issued a media statement, Update on Coronavirus Measures, that includes the following section about elective surgery.

Elective surgery

National Cabinet received up-to-date data on the stock of personnel protective equipment (PPE) in the National Medical Stockpile, and PPE held by state and territory health systems. PPE stocks and other equipment such as ventilators are now largely sufficient to meet expected demand for Australia’s COVID19 response through to December 2020, with current social distancing and travel restriction measures in place. 

National Cabinet noted that the National Medical Stockpile does not replace state, territory or private processes to source and deliver PPE to meet their needs. To date, the National Medical Stockpile has dispatched over 22 million masks primarily to state and territories, GP’s, Community Pharmacy, ACHHOS and aged care, with a further 11.5 million being dispatched this week.

Unnecessarily delaying elective surgeries can worsen health outcomes, increase anxiety and reduce social and economic productivity. 

As result of Australia’s success in flattening the curve, our low rates of COVID related hospitalisation and new data on stocks of PPE, National Cabinet agreed that from 27 April 2020, category 2 and equivalent procedures can recommence across the public and private hospital sectors. 

As result of Australia’s success in flattening the curve, our low rates of COVID related hospitalisation and new data on stocks of PPE, National Cabinet agreed that from 27 April 2020, category 2 and some important category 3 procedures can recommence across the public and private hospital sectors. 

National Cabinet further agreed that the following procedures can recommence from 27 April 2020:

·         IVF

·         Screening programs (cancer and other diseases)

·         Post cancer reconstruction procedures (such as breast reconstruction)

·         Procedures for children under 18 years of age.

·         Joint replacements (incl knees, hips, shoulders)

·         Cataracts and eye procedures

·         Endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures

 

 

PPE stocks for these elective surgeries and procedures will not be taken from the National Medical Stockpile.

It is estimated that a gradual restart of elective surgeries will see 1 in 4 closed elective surgery operating lists reopen, with flexibility for states to determine the appropriate levels of elective surgery within this general framework.

Reintroduction of elective surgery in a staged manner balances the ongoing need for the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, while allowing our hospitals to treat elective surgery patients.

These arrangements will be reviewed by 11 May 2020, to determine if other elective surgeries and procedures can recommence and volumes increased.

National Cabinet further agreed to the Australian Dental Association recommendation that dentists move to level 2 restrictions (such as fitting dentures, braces, non-high speed drill fillings and basic fillings), allowing a broader range of dental interventions to occur where the risk of transmission can be managed and PPE stocks procured by the private sector.

National Cabinet again thanked Australia’s health care professionals for their work to support our COVID-19 response.

 

Kind regards,

 

Ben Houston

Acting Director – Health Communication

Communication and Change Branch | People, Communication and Parliamentary Division

Australian Government Department of Health

T: 02.6289.5745 | E: benjamin.houston@health.gov.au

PO Box 9848, Canberra ACT 2601

Level 3 Sirius Building North, Furze St. Woden ACT

 

 

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