Elective surgery is planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment and the patient being placed on a waiting list.
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.
More information about—
Explore more details on public hospital elective surgery waiting lists can be found via the links at the bottom of the page.
All data in these visualisations are available for download in the Data & downloads section of the MyHospitals website.
Elective surgery bookmark 1
688,000 patients were admitted from public hospital waiting lists in 2019–20. This was a 6.2% decrease since 2018–19.
Elective surgery bookmark 2
50% of patients waited at least 39 days for admission from elective surgery waiting lists in 2019–20.
Elective surgery bookmark 3
Indigenous Australians waited longer for admission from elective surgery waiting lists than Other Australians in 2019–20.
Between 2014–15 to 2018–19, admissions from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased, on average, by 2.1% per year. However, in 2019–20, the number of admissions from waiting lists was 9.2% lower than 2018–19, due to the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery in March 2020.
Between 2014–15 to 2018–19, removals from public hospital elective surgery waiting lists increased, on average, by 2.3% per year. However, in 2019–20, the total removals from elective surgery waiting lists was 8% lower than 2018–19.
The latest data on elective surgery waiting times is available for download below.
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