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“Elective surgery blitz” to fix backlog

That State Government has committed $36 million to an “elective surgery blitz” to reduce the wait list caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

This means 5800 additional elective operations can be conducted by the end of the year using strategies such as weekend and twilight surgery, and additional work hours and staff.

Premier Mark McGowan said there is a “significant backlog” that needs to be cleared.

“By next year we expect to have our elective surgery backlog back to what it was prior to COVID.”

Care will be prioritised to those who have waited longer than clinically desirable for their care. Specialties with the highest volume of people who’ve been waiting “too long” are gastroenterology, ear nose and throat, urology, ophthalmology, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, and plastic surgery.

Non-urgent Category 2 and all Category 3 procedures were suspended from March 23 to ensure beds were available for COVID-19 patients and sufficient stocks of PPE were maintained. Elective surgery increased to 75 per cent of normal activity on June 2, and 100 per cent on June 15.

Health Minister Roger Cook said supplies of PPE will continue to be monitored.

“Supplies of personal protective equipment continue to improve in order to support this activity and we will continue to monitor this and the progress against elective surgery targets, and adjust the approach if required.”