MILDURA Base Hospital says surgery already booked will go ahead where possible despite the Victorian Government this week suspending non-urgent operations in regional public hospitals.
Mildura Base Hospital director of intensive care Dr Alison Walker said the hospital was permitted to continue to perform category 1 and urgent category 2 surgery as well as emergency operations.
"In addition, any other surgery that is already booked is permitted and where possible will proceed as scheduled," Dr Walker said.
"However, from (Wednesday night) under Victorian Government guidelines, elective surgery will be scheduled only for category 1, or urgent category 2 patients."
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said to ensure hospitals had the beds, equipment and staff they needed to continue the fight against the coronavirus, the Victorian Government would pause all category 3 and non-urgent category 2 elective surgery in regional Victoria.
Category 3 operations are defined as procedures that would require treatment at some point in the next year for conditions that cause pain, dysfunction or disability that are unlikely to deteriorate quickly.
Category 2 operations are for conditions that need treatment within 90 days that are unlikely to deteriorate quickly and unlikely to become an emergency, while category 1 surgery is for conditions that have the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point where the patient's situation may become an emergency.
Ms Mikakos said other regional hospitals would adopt the same approach as that being enforced at Mildura Base Hospital.
"While we won't be taking any new bookings for the time being, regional Victorians can be assured that, where possible, already-booked elective surgery will proceed, as well as for those who need unexpected, urgent care," Ms Mikakos said.
"We know this will mean an anxious time for many Victorians whose surgery is delayed, but we'll resume our elective surgery blitz as soon as it's safe to do so to catch up any backlog as quickly as possible."
IVF activity will be exempt from these restrictions.
Patients undergoing elective surgery at either Mildura Base Hospital or Mildura Health Private Hospital from August 17 will also need to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to surgery.
“We will contact each patient directly to let them know what they should do, and where they need to get tested,” Dr Walker said.
“After their test, they will need to remain isolated from others other than members of their own household, and have no visitors until they go for their procedure or surgery,” she said.
Patients booked for surgery in the week commencing Monday will not require a test.