Elective surgery will be reduced in Geelong hospitals from this week to help hospitals respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases across the region.
The Department of Health announced on Wednesday evening only urgent elective procedures would go ahead from today at public and private hospitals in Geelong.
The changes will also affect elective surgeries in Melbourne, Ballarat Bendigo, the Latrobe Valley and Shepparton.
Elective surgery procedures where the patient was already scheduled for admission on today or tomorrow may still occur where it was not safe or logistically possible to postpone.
The department said the changes would enable public and private hospitals to work as one system to make the best use of available capacity.
“As the Omicron strain continues to spread rapidly, these changes will reduce the strain on our hospitals by ensuring as many resources as possible are available across the system to manage both COVID-19 demand, as well as other patients with emergency and urgent medical needs,” it said.
“Elective surgery reductions will also help to make sure our dedicated healthcare workers can focus on managing existing demand and preparing for additional coronavirus patients.”
People waiting for non-urgent elective surgery who are impacted by the changes are encouraged to contact their general practitioner should their condition deteriorate, so they can be reviewed and re-prioritised to a more urgent category if required.
The department said surgery settings would continue to be reviewed regularly to ensure enough beds for coronavirus patients was maintained and non-urgent surgery could resume when it was safe.