Elective surgery

Elective surgery refers to non-emergency surgery that is medically necessary, but which can be delayed for at least 24 hours.

If you have been scheduled for surgery, and placed on the elective surgery waiting list, the following information will assist you to understand the process.

South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) continues to review how to manage its readiness and response to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

Please read the following to prepare for your elective surgery.

Visiting our hospital

Changes to visitor arrangements at our hospitals have been introduced in line with other public hospitals throughout WA.

As hospitals care for people when they are at their most vulnerable, these changes will help them, our staff and the wider community safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Please read about these changes.

Text reads COVID-19 visiting

Before your scheduled elective surgery date

Depending on the time between your booking and your surgery, you will receive a letter, email, phone call or text detailing your surgery plan.

As your surgery date approaches, your treating team will determine the risk to you of proceeding with your surgery if you test positive for COVID-19 in the days before or day of your surgery.

Your treating team will ask for your mobile phone number, and email address if you have one, so they can contact you about any changes that need to be made.

Do not attend an elective surgery appointment if you are unwell. Contact the hospital before your admission if you:

  • have had COVID-19 within the last 4 weeks
  • have tested positive for COVID-19 between your booking date and appointment or admission date
  • are unwell with any of the following symptoms – fever, dry cough, shortness of breath,
  • have fatigue, loss of taste and/or smell, diarrhoea, headache, sore/scratchy throat, muscle aches, runny nose, chills/night sweats, vomiting
  • have been told to isolate by WA Health.

Please advise your treating team if you:

  • have an essential visitor to accompany you
  • have mobility issues and will require assistance to move throughout the hospital once you arrive.

Read information for all visitors on proof of vaccination documents and screening processes.

COVID-19 self-testing for planned overnight elective surgery patients

The following information applies to planned overnight elective surgery patients.

If you are attending for planned overnight elective surgery, you need to self-test using a nasal rapid antigen test (RAT) before leaving home on the day you are coming to hospital.

If your RAT result is positive for COVID-19

The risks associated with surgery are much higher for people with COVID-19 and must be weighed against the risks of delaying treatment.

It is likely that your surgery will be postponed if you test positive for COVID-19.

However, if your treating team determines you need urgent care, your surgery may go ahead as planned with a range of additional precautions. This may include moving you to an isolation area.

If your elective surgery is postponed

Please be assured postponing your surgery due to a positive COVID-19 RAT does not mean you will go to the end of the elective surgery waitlist. Your procedure will be rebooked and you will be contacted with further details.

For more information please visit our online one-stop-information hub for patients and visitors.

Coming to hospital

Please attend your appointment without a support person if you can do this safely.

Only an approved essential support visitor/carer is allowed. Read more about access for visitors. If your approved essential visitor tests positive for COVID-19 this may also result in your surgery being delayed. Again, your treating team will determine the next steps in your care.

If you are staying in hospital for several days, please have your overnight bag delivered to you during visitor hours, where possible.