Boosting elective surgery and specialist outpatient clinics

01 July 2020

The ACT Government is continuing efforts to recover from the impacts COVID-19, by increasing our investment in Canberra’s public health system to reboot impacted health services.

This $30 million funding will deliver more elective surgeries, more outpatient appointments and more medical procedures to meet increased demand following the suspension of many Category 2 and 3 services in March.

The ACT has responded strongly to the threat of COVID-19 and, while the pandemic is certainly not over, we are now in a good position to re-open many services and procedures that were postponed due to COVID-19 and fast track recovery in our public health system.
Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the Canberra’s health services have worked collaboratively to plan for the boost in services in 2020 21.

“Canberra Health Services has led the development of a comprehensive plan to ensure we remain in a strong position to respond to any COVID-19 outbreak while also performing additional surgeries and procedures.

“In 2018 19 our public health system performed more than 14,000 elective surgeries – a record for the Territory. In 2020 21, we’re planning to boost this to more than 16,000.

“Increasing activity now is essential to ensure current and future patients have access to timely and appropriate healthcare while we work to recover from the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Other additional services include:

• 14,000 additional specialist outpatient appointments
• Up to 679 additional endoscopy procedures
• Targeted school checks for kindergarten children, focussing on hearing and vision
• 2600 child development checks through Maternal and Child Health (MACH) Clinic
• Up to 1900 dental appointments, targeting people with special needs, children and vulnerable community groups.

Canberra’s public and private health systems will work together to ensure these additional surgeries can be performed, running the equivalent of two extra theatres for 250 days over the next 12 months.

“The coordinated response to COVID-19 has further strengthened the existing partnerships with private hospitals in the ACT. This puts us in a solid position to leverage the facilities and resources of the private health system to catch-up on elective surgery.

“Canberra’s healthcare staff have gone above and beyond in responding to COVID-19, working incredibly hard to keep patients, staff and the wider community safe.

“I have no doubt our dedicated doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff will continue to deliver exceptional health care as we work together to reboot our system and I thank them for their ongoing commitment to the ACT community,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Patients wanting to know their status on the elective surgery waitlist can call the Elective Surgery Hotline on 02 5124 9889.