- Policies and resources are available to enhance Victoria’s surgical services.
- The Elective surgery access policy helps hospital and health services to manage elective surgery patients.
- The Elective Surgery Access Service provides a system for transferring patients from services that are unable to treat them, to services that can.
- An information brochure is available to give to patients.
Policies and resources are available to guide and assist health services, hospitals and clinicians to improve Victoria’s surgical services
Elective surgery access policy
National elective surgery urgency categorisation guideline - April 2015
Referring specialist medical practitioners should consult the national categorisation document for guidance about procedures not listed in the Victorian recommended guide on the assignment of clinical urgency categories.
Templates for written communication with patients
The following plain language templates are available to assist health services to implement the policy and communicate with patients:
Former Royal Australasian College of Surgeons President, Professor David Watters AM OBE has handed down his review on private practice arrangements in our public health services. Importantly, Professor Watters found no evidence of private patients being consistently prioritised over public patients in Victorian public health services.
Release of the Watters Review fulfils the Victorian Government’s commitment to the recommendation in the for the Department of Health to ‘evaluate private practice arrangements to measure and monitor the benefits and share results with health services to inform their practice’.
Best Care Policy
During the first wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Victoria, all non-urgent elective surgery was temporarily suspended. This decision was made so that health services could conserve personal protective equipment, minimise the risk of infection to staff and patients, and ensure intensive care unit capacity for COVID-19 care.
During this period, Safer Care Victoria partnered with the Victorian Perioperative Consultative Council to review the clinical evidence for surgical procedures – ensuring that scarce capacity was prioritised towards the patients that needed it most.
A policy was issued by the Department of Health requiring these procedures, from 22 June 2020, to only be performed in circumstances where the procedure is indicated (as outlined in the Best Care guidance) or for whom an exemption for the procedure has been sought and approved at a local health service level. You can view the .
Elective Surgery Access Service
The Elective Surgery Access Service (ESAS) provides a streamlined system for transferring elective surgery patients from health services that are unable to treat them within clinically appropriate timeframes, to health services with the capacity to offer rapid treatment.
Reviewed 21 June 2023