Definition of Elective Surgery

What is considered elective surgery in Australia? 

Elective surgery is considered as a planned surgery that can be booked in advance  after a clinical assessment by the specialist. The patient is then placed on a waiting list for Surgery in the public system or referred to the Private system depending on the patient's circumstances.

What is the difference between emergency surgery and elective surgery?

In Australia, the surgeries are classified as Emergency surgery that need to be performed immediately without any delay and Elective surgery  that can be delayed for at least 24 hours.To access an elective procedure, a specialist will need to refer you to private system or place you on a waiting list in public system after a clinical assessment determines you need it. Emergency surgeries cannot be delayed and are focused on saving life, organs and or limbs.

What is the most common Emergency surgery?

Emergency surgeries are those which treat trauma (e.g. car accident injuries) or acute illness (e.g. appendicitis).

Most common Emergency surgeries are Appendectomy, Hip fracture surgery, Coronary and bypass surgery.

What is the most common elective surgery?

Elective surgeries include procedures like Prostate biopsy, Large bowel resection, Heart valve replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, Dialysis access surgery,Mirena insertion, Carpal tunnel release, tonsillectomies, and ligament repair.

The most common Elective surgeries are Cataract surgery, Excisional surgery, Contraceptive and procreative management surgery, hip replacement surgery, knee replacement surgery. Local hospital wait times can differ based on the specific resources available and the category of the surgery.

Elective Surgeries are further classified into Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3, depending on their seriousness.

What is category 1 elective surgery? 

Category 1: These are deemed Urgent as it can potentially deteriorate to the point where it may become an emergency and hence shou;d be performed within 30 days.

What is category 2 elective surgery?

Category 2: These are Semi urgent which means it causes pain, dysfunction or disability but is unlikely to deteriorate quickly and become an emergency and can be performed within 90 days.

What is category 3 elective surgery? 

Category 3: These are Non-urgent which means it causes minimal or no pain, dysfunction or disability and is unlikely to deteriorate quickly and does not have the potential to become an emergency and can be performed within 365 days.

Timeframes for each of the above categories are judged by the treating clinician. Public hospitals make every attempt adhere to the timeframe, however, patients requiring emergency surgery and who require a hospital bed are given clinical priority.

Australian Patients Association (APA) partnered with AFRM Claims Advocacy (ACA) to alleviate the financial stress for those who are not working due to injury, illness or due to their Elective Surgery being postponed. Click here for more information.

To access more information on Elective Surgery  register as a member; it's FREE! or Login here.