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Elective surgery can safely resume next week, medical body says

All elective surgery has been cancelled for weeks, amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the National Cabinet yesterday indicated it will consider allowing some surgeries to return next week.

President of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), Dr Rod Mitchell, has thrown his support behind the idea.

“We can do that as soon as the hospitals give us the green light, which I think they’re probably doing now,” he told 3AW’s Ross and John.

“Our private hospitals and our public hospitals … have got a lot of empty beds at the moment.”

But Dr Mitchell cautioned not all elective surgeries can be safely resumed immediately.

He said only patients who are at low risk of contracting coronavirus, and whose procedures are low risk but high benefit, should be operated on in coming weeks.

Procedures which require medical staff to wear PPE should also continue to be postponed to safeguard essential supplies needed for the fight against COVID-19.

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