Scaling back elective surgery

St John of God Health Care Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Shane Kelly has outlined our current approach to scaling back elective surgeries in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

St John of God Health Care Group CEO Dr Shane Kelly25 March 2020

St John of God Health Care became aware on the weekend that the State Government’s intention is to scale back elective surgery in public hospitals in WA.

Our own stocks of personal protect equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns and masks required to protect nurses, doctors and other health care workers, and help to reduce the spread of infection, is also running low in Western Australia, where our largest hospitals are located.

Our position in relation to non-urgent surgery in response to this PPE shortage along with other key considerations such as patient, surgeon and caregiver safety and the availability of ICU beds across WA, is that only urgent and emergency surgery should now be undertaken. We have been in consultation with our hospital Medical Advisory Committees who helped to provide expert advice.

We are in the process of liaising with our specialist surgeons and patients to give effect to this as soon as possible.

We are of course investigating a number of different options with respect to PPE supply. We have called on the Federal Government to include supplies of stockpile items such as PPE to the private sector as we play a key role in the health care system.

This is a difficult but necessary decision, and recognise that it significantly impacts upon our patients, surgeons, caregivers and others. We will be reviewing this non-urgent surgery postponement decision on a regular basis in consideration of a range of relevant issues such as safety, supplies and ICU capacity across the system.

We are also working closely with the WA Health public hospital system in the management of this crisis as required, inclusive of how we can assist.

Dr Shane Kelly
Group Chief Executive Officer
St John of God Health Care


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