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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4104 ..

Emergency surgery

(Question No 950)

Mrs Dunne

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

In relation to emergency surgery:

How many theatres were allocated to emergency surgery at The Canberra Hospital on 30 and 31 July and 1 August;

What is the average number of theatres at The Canberra Hospital allocated to emergency surgery;

What are the criteria for allocating patients to the emergency surgery list;

How long does a patient wait on average for emergency surgery.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

Each day one theatre is allocated to emergency surgery. This theatre is allocated 24 hours a day. The emergency theatre is available for patients requiring surgery within 24 hours.

In addition non- elective sessions are provided to cater for patients who require surgery but do not require surgery within a 24-hour period. Non- elective theatre sessions can be accessed when the demand for emergency surgery is greater than the one allocated theatre. On 30 and 31 July and 1 August 2003 additional non-elective sessions were allocated (a session is a theatre for 4 hours in the morning or 3 hours in the afternoon). These non-elective sessions were allocated as follows:

No. of sessions

30 July: 2

31 July: 5

1 August: 4

The usual allocation is one emergency theatre available 24 hours per day plus 2 sessions per week for non-elective plastic surgery.

In addition to this is the capacity for another theatre for:

Obstetric or other life threatening emergencies; and

Cardiac emergencies.

Commencing on 1 September 2003 an additional morning session of 4 hours is allocated each weekday for orthopaedic emergency patients.

Patients are prioritized according to their clinical need and the following urgency codes are used for allocating patients to the emergency and non-elective surgery lists:


Surgery within

1. Life Threatening:

less than half an hour

2. Organ Threatening:

less than 2 hours

3. Non-critical but emergent:

less than 6 hours

4. Non-critical non emergent but urgent:

less than 24 hours

5. Subacute

more than 24 hours.

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