The NSW Government will spend up to an extra $388 million to ramp up elective surgeries, focusing on patients whose surgery has been delayed by COVID-19 to ensure they are booked in as soon as possible.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Government funding would allow public patients to be treated in private hospitals. Public hospitals are also increasing surgery capacity.
“One of the many sacrifices made by patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic was delays to some categories of elective surgeries,” Mr Hazzard said.
“The decision of National Cabinet in late March to pause some non-urgent surgeries across the country allowed us to prepare both public and private hospitals, our ICU capacity and our supplies of PPE for COVID-19. “We are working as fast as we can to fast track those patients whose surgery has been disrupted.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the health needs of the state had been front and centre of the NSW Government’s pandemic response. “Our fast response to COVID-19 has helped protect people across NSW, and now we are boosting health funding so we can ensure elective surgeries postponed due to the pandemic are completed as soon as possible,” Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Hazzard said NSW Health will host a roundtable with public and private health sectors and clinicians within the next month to determine the best way to quickly and appropriately deliver elective surgeries and other procedures.
NSW public hospitals normally deliver around 100,000 emergency surgeries as well as 235,000 elective surgeries a year. Surgical capacity across the public and private sector is on track to be 75 per cent by the end of June.
All NSW Health Local Health Districts are balancing the return of elective surgery with the need to maintain hospital capacity and preparedness for COVID-19. Surgery lists are being closely monitored, and any patient whose condition changes or deteriorates should speak to their treating clinician.
The NSW Government has committed $800 million extra funding over two years on top of the 2019-20 Health Budget of $26.7 billion to help boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment, to help respond to COVID-19.