12 November 2021

Elective surgery will begin to return to full capacity for public and private patients in hospitals in Greater Sydney, including the Nepean Blue Mountains and Illawarra Shoalhaven local health districts (LHDs), from Monday 15 November with the lifting of the cap on non-urgent elective surgery.

Put in place to facilitate the comprehensive health response to the Delta outbreak, the 75 per cent cap on overnight, non-urgent elective surgery in public and private hospitals can now be safely removed due to the very high rates of vaccination in NSW and stable levels of community transmission.

Overnight, non-urgent elective surgery had resumed on 25 October in both public and private hospitals, following the resumption of day surgery (including IVF services) from 5 October.

Generally, non-urgent elective surgery continued in regional and rural NSW, however temporary restrictions were put in place in response to local outbreaks, including in Western NSW and Far West NSW. All emergency surgery and urgent elective surgery in NSW continued to be performed during this challenging period.

Where necessary, local health districts may impose temporary restrictions at a hospital in the event of a local outbreak to ensure the community is kept safe and can access hospital care if required.

NSW Health would like to thank the staff from many private hospitals throughout NSW for assisting in the pandemic response, including supporting the large-scale vaccination effort and workforce demands in the public health system. Private hospitals have also been conducting elective surgery on behalf of the public health system for patients who had their non-urgent elective surgery postponed.

Patients due to receive non-urgent elective surgery impacted by changes made to facilitate the pandemic response, including the safety of health workers and patients, are being contacted and encouraged to seek medical attention should they experience a change in their condition so they can be clinically reviewed and re-prioritised to a more urgent category if required.

The NSW Government is providing $30 million to support private hospitals to undertake additional elective surgery on behalf of the NSW Health system to ensure that patients who have their non-urgent day surgery elective surgery postponed will be scheduled for surgery as soon as possible.

In 2020-21 the NSW Government provided an extra $458.5 million to fast-track elective surgeries which were delayed as a result of the Federal Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and a further $80 million has been provided as part of the 2021-22 NSW Budget.

The NSW Government has committed more than $4 billion to the NSW health system to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.