RACS South Australia State Committee Chair, Dr David King, said the decision will result in additional delays for patients in a system that is already struggling to meet the extraordinary demands that have been placed on waiting lists two years into the pandemic.
“RACS is concerned about the news of rolling postponement of elective surgery across South Australia, specifically the cancellation of category 2 and 3 cases at the Royal Adelaide Hospital this week.
“An elective procedure is not an optional procedure that patients elect to have or a doctor elects to deliver – it is often essential surgery. It is surgery to address often life-threatening conditions and conditions that prevent patients from living a normal life because of severe pain or dysfunction. Therefore, elective surgery cancellations must only be deployed as a last resort.
“SA Health’s own figures indicate that there are now approximately 19,000 people waiting for elective surgery in South Australia and 3,400 whose surgery is overdue, and that number is growing. We know that the state government recognises the seriousness of the situation and that there are many contributing factors, including simply a lack of beds and staff, but this is especially concerning as winter approaches and access to those beds becomes even more difficult.
“We are aware that this is a nationwide phenomenon, and at a national level RACS is calling on the new federal government to work with state and territory governments on a national plan to address the growing and increasingly critical backlog of elective surgery and we remain keen to work with SA Health to make sure that no operations are unnecessarily postponed.”