Surgeries suspended in Qld as COVID-19 crisis escalates

Non-urgent elective surgeries have been suspended in Queensland’s public hospitals as the state deals with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases.

It comes after the state recorded another 11,174 cases on Sunday.

Nearly 350 people are being treated in hospital. 17 people are in intensive care including three on a ventilator.


Two men in their 30s, one on the Gold Coast and the other in Brisbane, have been confirmed to have died of “rare complications” linked to COVID-19.

As a result, the state government has decided to postpone category 3 and some category 2 elective surgery until at least March 1.

Health Minitster Yvette D’Ath said the suspension will help to ensure the health system had sufficient capacity to deal with the expected peak of Omicron cases in coming weeks.

“Throughout the pandemic, our healthcare services have continually adapted to meet demand and deliver life-saving care,” Minister D’Ath said.

“Postponing non-urgent elective surgeries is an unfortunate but necessary step to ensure Queenslanders can continue to access urgent and critical healthcare if and when they need it.

“Our public hospitals will also be looking to either postpone, or deliver by telehealth, all non urgent outpatient appointments, whether new or follow up, for the same period of time to enable our valuable workforce to be redeployed to support critical service delivery.

“Emergency and trauma surgery and category 1 urgent planned surgery will proceed as normal as will critical services like chemotherapy and renal dialysis.

“Our healthcare workers are continuing to work hard to respond to this unprecedented demand on our services.

“We need to do what we can to help our frontline heroes, particularly when, as expected, more and more of our healthcare workers will be away from work due to being infected with COVID-19 or quarantined as a close contact.

”These changes will ensure we still have enough staff available to continue providing essential healthcare to the Queenslanders who need it.”

The decision will be reviewed at the end of this month.

“As part of our long-standing COVID response plan we are working to harness private sector capacity to support our COVID-19 response,” Ms D’Ath added.

“Options being considered include using private bed capacity for public patients.

”We will continue working with our private hospital partners to finalise these arrangements so they can be implemented over the coming days.”

Hospitals will be contacting all patients with planned non-urgent elective procedures to discuss their individual circumstances and a rescheduled appointment.