Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that the ban on elective surgeries will be lifted after Anzac Day, following the most recent meeting of the national cabinet today.
Speaking outside of Parliament House on Tuesday, the PM said that this latest decision is a sign that Australia is heading in the right direction, however he stressed that the country is still very much “in the middle of combatting this terrible virus”.
“Today we agreed to lift restrictions on elective surgery after Anzac Day, after the long weekend,” Morrison said. “This will not mean an immediate return to normal with elective surgery, but a gradual restart, subject to of course to capacity and other constraints that may exist in each jurisdiction … one of the reasons why we have been able to do that, is the increase in the amount of personal protective equipment that we have been able to secure.”
Morrison went on to explain that the restart will apply to all Category 2 or equivalent procedures in the private sector, as well as selected Category 3 and other procedures, which includes all IVF, all screening programs, where they have ceased, post-cancer reconstructive procedures and joint replacements.
Also included will be all procedures for children under 18, all cataract and eye procedures, endoscopies and colonoscopies.
The prime minister estimated that this lifting of restrictions will lead to a re-opening of around 25 per cent of activity in elective surgery in private and public hospitals.
Morrison also spoke about aged care and urged facilities across the country not to impose restrictions that go above the recommendations of the national cabinet, warning that this could have a negative impact on the health of isolated elderly residents.
“We are very concerned about the impact of restrictions that had been put in place in aged care facilities over and above what was recommended by the National Cabinet on the residents in those facilities,” he added.
“There is great concern that the isolation of elderly people in residential care facilities where they have been prevented from having any visits from loved ones and support people is not good for their wellbeing, is not good for their health.”
He added: “The National Cabinet agreed that there needs to be a strong reminder that the National Cabinet decision was to not shut people off or to lock them away in their rooms.”