Elective surgery activity

After a specialist clinical assessment, the treating doctor places the patient on an elective surgery waiting list. Patients can be removed from a waiting list for a range of reasons—including because they were admitted for their awaited procedure, the surgery was no longer required, they were treated elsewhere, or they were unable to be contacted or had died.

This section presents information on additions to, and removals from, public hospital elective surgery waiting lists in 2020–21and in other recent years.

Information is also presented by:

Impact of COVID-19 on admissions from elective surgery waiting lists in 2019–20 

Following a decision by National Cabinet, in the context of ensuring the health system maintained adequate capacity to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions were applied to selected elective surgeries from 26 March 2020.

Under these restrictions, only Category 1 and exceptional Category 2 procedures could be undertaken. These restrictions were eased (but not fully lifted) from 29 April 2020, allowing all Category 2 and some important Category 3 procedures to be performed. 

These restrictions led to an overall decrease in admissions from elective surgery waiting lists of 9.2% between 2018–19 and 2019–20 and impacted waiting times for elective surgery.