*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

The Australian Medical Association (NSW) (AMA (NSW)) released a statement last week, welcoming the NSW Government’s announcement to resume elective surgery from Monday 7 February 2022, but says this step does not go far enough to address gaps in the health system.

The AMA (NSW) is urging the State government to give patients certainty that elective surgeries will not be cancelled again, as we learn to live with COVID-19.  Although the delayed care is classed as “elective” and “non-urgent”, it is nevertheless necessary healthcare for serious issues.  Delays in delivering these surgeries have had significant impacts on the lives and well-being of patients and their families.

The AMA (NSW) is concerned that the three elective surgery shutdowns the State has suffered since the beginning of the pandemic, are the result of underlying workforce resourcing problems and poor planning, and that suspending elective surgery should only ever be a last resort and a local decision based on capacity.[1]

Understaffing and associated stressors have long been an issue in the NSW public health system.  The main issues cited by doctors and other healthcare workers in the current COVID climate, continue to be the lack of work force, excessive workloads and the lack of vital resources.[2]  It is clear that the health care system, which was already under pressure from lack of staffing pre-pandemic, urgently requires greater workforce allocation and resourcing to be able to address and keep up with non-COVID related healthcare needs.

The AMA (NSW) has warned that delays in providing elective surgeries will only increase the pressures on the healthcare system, as treatment for serious non-COVID related issues becomes increasingly urgent and waitlists burgeon.

Non-COVID related healthcare demands are only expected to increase across the board into the future.  The AMA (NSW) is calling upon the NSW Government to act in a pro-active manner to ensure hospitals are sufficiently staffed and resourced so that the needs of patients can be met in a timely manner.[3]

If you have any questions about the impact of delayed medical diagnosis or treatment, please contact us.  Turner Freeman Lawyers is a National firm that can help you understand your rights if you have suffered injury or illness (or the exacerbation of injury or illness) attributable to delays and/or treatment errors in the health system, wherever you are located in Australia. 

Get in touch with us

If you or anyone you know has suffered harm as a result of surgery or medical treatment gone wrong, please contact our medical negligence team on 13 43 63.

At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our medical negligence lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in ParramattaSydneyWollongongNewcastle and Toronto.


[1] https://www.amansw.com.au/patients-need-certainty-around-future-of-elective-surgery/

[2] https://www.amansw.com.au/ama-nsw-urges-state-to-prepare-for-non-covid-care-pressure-on-hospitals/

[3] https://www.amansw.com.au/ama-nsw-urges-state-to-prepare-for-non-covid-care-pressure-on-hospitals/