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The Canberra Times

ACT elective surgeries to be postponed

Elective surgeries are expected to be postponed. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Elective surgeries in the ACT are expected to be postponed due to the health system experiencing extremely high demand.

As of Tuesday, there are 80 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a record since the pandemic began for the ACT, which is what health authorities are attributing to hospitals postponing their elective surgeries.

In addition, non COVID-19 patients are also building up in the two Canberra hospitals.

This comes ahead of an expected winter surge in COVID and other respiratory illnesses, including influenza, which is also spreading in the community.

"This is having a significant impact on our capacity at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, so we'd like to remind Canberrans to keep our emergency departments for emergencies," a spokesperson said.

"Our health services continue to face staff shortages due to COVID-19, other illnesses and leave."

ACT Health is recommending people visit their GPs, a walk-in centre or call the National Home Doctor Service for all non-urgent health care.

It's expected both hospitals in Canberra will postpone their elective surgeries in the coming days with no end date given at this stage.

Canberra's health system has come under enormous pressure in recent months due to increasing hospitalisations and staffing shortages.

More than 150 staff are off on any one day due to illness.

Last week, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said elective surgeries could be postponed as theatres were closed.

She said the system would have to prioritise emergency surgery.

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