Elective surgeries postponed in lead up to Easter

SA Health has postponed all category two and three elective surgeries in Adelaide until midnight tomorrow, with its chief executive saying the decision was made because “all our beds are full”.

Mar 27, 2024, updated Mar 27, 2024
SA Health has cancelled non-urgent elective surgeries for two days as hospitals beds are full. Image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

SA Health has cancelled non-urgent elective surgeries for two days as hospitals beds are full. Image: Tom Aldahn/InDaily

In a statement released by SA Health, chief executive Robyn Lawrence said the decision had been made so as to increase capacity across the system going into the Easter long weekend – a time when elective surgeries are not scheduled.

Emergency surgeries will go ahead, as well all paediatric surgeries and IVF procedures.

Non-urgent surgeries may go ahead upon approval if adequate beds are available.

Lawrence said patients impacted would be contacted by SA Health, with all appointments to be rescheduled “as soon as possible”.

Lawrence said she anticipated normal activities would resume after Easter.

“I acknowledge that the delays for patients will be absolutely disappointing, and we will work as quickly as we can to get those patients rescheduled,” she told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“We’ve taken this action because of the pressure our system has been under, this action will create additional beds for us, which leading into the Easter break we were quite concerned about.

“What we’re facing is a demand which is exceeding our capacity at the present time. All of our beds are full.”

Lawrence said over 500 patients had been in Adelaide hospitals for more than 21 days.

“The pressure on our hospitals has been building for several years,” she said.

“The reality though is over the last few months we’ve seen surges in demand and what we’re not seeing is those demands easing off to any degree.”

Lawrence denied any suggestion the timing was linked to last weekend’s Dunstan by-election, saying the decision was made yesterday.

“With respect to anything to do with a by-election, that’s a political issue… my job is as a government employee.

“I am not a political character, and it’s not about political decisions. My decision-making is about the care of patients.”

Lawrence said surgeries that may be under category two or three include gallbladder removal and some joint replacements.

“A lot of them are relatively minor procedures, but they’re procedures that we can delay safely,” she said.

“I acknowledge that it’s a short time frame for patients, but we didn’t want to take a decision in advance of when it was needed.”

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