NSW is upscaling its level of preparedness for COVID-19, with moves underway to double intensive care capacity across the state.
As with other NSW Health services, hospitals in Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) are activating plans to manage elective surgery lists as the system responds to the COVID-19 pandemic and its likely convergence with the upcoming winter flu season.
Like all other Local Health Districts (LHDs), we have been planning for weeks and adjusting our response according to our increasing knowledge about the impact of COVID-19 and the constant emerging evidence about its clinical management.
A key component of our planning is to ensure patients with the highest clinical urgency are prioritised, such as emergency and trauma patients and urgent surgery cases.
In light of this and after consultation with our clinicians, non-urgent elective surgery will be postponed from March 25. Our focus is on bringing forward urgent, and where clinically required, semi-urgent, elective surgery cases to reduce any possible surgical demand across the LHD.
This will free up our other clinicians, nurses, support staff and sites to be available to respond to COVID-19 cases as needed.
We will be contacting patients on waiting lists over the coming days to communicate any changes to their admission. While any disruption is regrettable, we trust the community will understand.
This is an unprecedented situation, and we are continually monitoring demand and capacity of all health services across the NNSWLHD.