Surgery wait lists balloon as COVID-fuelled bed shortages hit Victorian hospitals

19th October 2021 3AW

Some urgent category one elective surgeries are being postponed because of a beds crisis in our hospitals.

Almost 70,000 Victorians are currently waiting for elective surgery.

That figure has grown by more than 15,000 since the beginning of last year.

Elective surgeries in Melbourne and Geelong are currently limited to urgent category one and limited category two procedures.

But Australian Medical Association Victoria board member Jill Tomlinson told The Age some category one surgeries, which are supposed to be performed within 30 days, are being postponed.

General Manager of the Australian Patients Association, Jas Streten, says the problems with elective surgery wait times began long before the pandemic.

“Elective surgery has been a problem for a long period of time. Prior to COVID there were people waiting for longer than 30 days to have category 1 surgery done,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Category one elective surgeries can include surgery on cancerous lesions, breast lumps and cardiac issues.

Doctors claim there’s a bed shortage due to COVID, which is placing restrictions on which surgeries can go ahead.

Those restrictions are likely to last until next year, according to many in the industry.

“(There) needs to be a long term fix … we should never be in a situation where we need to have an elective surgery blitz,” Mr Streten said.

Press PLAY below to hear Mr Streten’s thoughts on elective surgery waits

For further information contact: Stephen Mason Ph: 0408 944 859 or Office: 03 9274 0788