South Australia will become the first state to fully restore elective surgery, with the restrictions lifted as of midnight tomorrow.
“South Australians’ outstanding progress in containing COVID-19 thus far and a substantial increase in the stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has enabled the ramping up of elective surgery,” said Premier Steven Marshall.
“I want to thank those South Australians who have had their surgery postponed for their patience.
“Their surgery has been on hold, not only for their own safety, but also for the safety of the wider community in the midst of a pandemic.”
It is projected that South Australia’s public hospitals will reach regular elective surgery levels by early to mid-June, as long as it remains safe to do so.
Restrictions placed on dentistry are also set to be lifted.
According to South Australia’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, enabling the full return of elective surgery has meant securing 48,000 surgical N95 masks and one million Level 3 face masks.
Minister Wade stated, “We are now ready to move to restart our full elective surgery lists to ensure we can reduce the number of people currently waiting, just as we had before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will be working hard to maintain PPE supplies and the public health measures that will suppress the virus.
To the extent that we succeed, we will be able to maintain elective surgery activity over the coming months.”
Department of Health and Wellbeing Executive Director of Health Services Programs and Funding, Helen Chalmers, confirmed the full return of elective surgery in South Australia comes after the Federal Government recommended each state and territory develop their own plan.
“At each step of the way, we have taken advice from our integrated Surgical COVID-19 network, which was convened during the pandemic which is unique in Australia and which has been invaluable in delivering health outcomes for South Australians,” Chalmers said.
“The strategy in the first phase is to prioritise those on the waiting lists who have been waiting longest in their urgency categories.”
This strategy is supported by the surgical advisory group, who will monitor the progress made.
Stay tuned for more information.