Department of Health

Planned Surgery Reform Blueprint

The Planned Surgery Reform Blueprint outlines how we are improving planned surgery in Victoria.

The Planned Surgery Reform Blueprint (the Blueprint) outlines our plan to improve planned surgery in Victoria.

Our health system has faced a challenging few years. Enduring system-wide reform is required to strengthen the planned surgery system for the future.

Informed by 12 months of research and engagement with hundreds of stakeholders across the health sector and Victorian community, the Blueprint sets out:

The reforms identified in the Blueprint build on work that is already underway across the state, and will help to continue driving long-term, sustainable changes to planned surgery.

This will mean more Victorians can access the care they need, when they need it.

Download the Blueprint

Key elements


Our aim for the Victorian planned surgery system is:

‘All Victorians can access planned surgery or non‑surgical treatment when they need it, and experience safe and equitable outcomes, now and into the future.’

Pillars of change

The 4 pillars of change are broad areas of focus that underpin our system-wide aim, setting out four equal priorities:

  • Positive patient experiences and outcomes
  • Sustainable healthcare workforce
  • Optimal health service efficiency
  • Strong system stewardship


The Blueprint outlines 10 interrelated reforms that cut across the 4 pillars of change to achieve our system-wide aim.

  1. Goal: Deliver same-day models of care as standard care, expanding to further procedures, when and where safe to do so.

  2. 2a. Evidence-based alternatives to surgery

    Goal: Consistently implement and scale evidence-based alternatives to surgery across Victoria, improving access to best care management pathways where clinically appropriate.

    2b. Optimisation pathways for surgery

    Goal: Implement and scale new and existing optimisation pathways for surgery, to support a better experience and outcomes across the patient’s surgical journey.

  3. Goal: Strengthen the integration and communication between health services and the primary care workforce, including through improved information sharing and co-designed collaborative care pathways that support the entire surgical journey.

  4. Goal: Establish and expand novel and advanced scope of practice roles to support the sustainable delivery of planned surgery.

  5. Goal: Build and retain a modern, sustainable and engaged healthcare workforce across the entire perioperative journey.

  6. Goal: Implement and scale high-throughput approaches – underpinned by best-practice guidance – across all Health Service Partnerships (HSPs), delivering them when and where appropriate.

    Targeted high throughput approaches to theatre list management

    Safer Care Victoria (SCV) has been resourced to assist the department's Surgery Recovery and Reform Branch to progress its reform agenda.

    This report was requested to provide clinical advice to support the implementation of high throughput approaches to theatre list management, such as high intensity theatre (HIT) lists (or similar).

  7. Goal: Implement digital referral pathways and integrate these with health information platforms, in turn streamlining planned surgery pathways for patients and the workforce.

  8. Goal: Implement and expand virtual models of care for planned surgery, increasing workforce flexibility, optimising health service efficiency, enhancing patient engagement and promoting equitable access to pre- and post-surgical assessment and care.

  9. Goal: Develop and implement regionalised planned surgery preparation lists (also known as waiting lists) for all Victorian public health services.

  10. Goal: Improve system integration, ensure direction setting is based on accurate, timely and transparent data aligned with what matters most to patients, and improve collaboration between health services, HSPs and the department at each step of the patient journey.

Essential partnerships to deliver lasting reform

The reforms in this Blueprint are not about quick fixes – they represent long-term reform that is sustainable and patient centred.

As the Blueprint is delivered, we expect:

  • the system to continue implementing actions for each of the 10 reforms by driving local innovation
  • the steward (the Department of Health) to enable and support the system to deliver those actions.

With clear governance, communication and ownership across all key stakeholders, together we can build a better planned surgery system for all Victorians.

More information

For more information on the Blueprint and reform implementation, contact the Surgery Recovery and Reform team at

Reviewed 12 April 2024


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