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COVID-19 - FAQ: Elective surgery

Elective Surgery changes due to COVID-19

WBHHS remains committed to ensuring the most time-sensitive and medically necessary care, whether COVID-19 related or not, can be delivered by our hospitals.

As we deal with the unprecedented situation being experienced across the world because of COVID-19, some of our outpatient services will be impacted.

Impacted services include non-urgent surgery and pre-admission or anaesthetic appointments. Because of this you may have received a notification that your surgery or appointment has:

  • Been postponed
  • Remains unchanged
  • Changed to a telephone or telehealth appointment (for pre-admission or anaesthetic appointments).

This document answers questions you may have about why your non-urgent surgery has changed in response to COVID-19.


Why has my surgery been changed?

Changes to surgery have been made to protect patients and staff in the following ways:

  • Enabling physical distancing by:
    • postponing non-urgent surgery to a later date. Regrettably, at this time we are unable to advise a new surgery date, however please be assured we are working hard to ensure this will be as soon as possible
    • using technology such as telehealth and phone appointments to avoid physical contact (for pre-admission or anaesthetic appointments)
  • Conserving personal protective equipment, such as surgical face masks and gowns, for staff to deal with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 patients, as well as patients requiring urgent care.

Why has my anaesthetic or pre-admission appointment been changed to a phone or telehealth appointment?

If you have received notification that your appointment has changed to a phone or telehealth appointment, it’s because your clinical team is confident they can provide you with the care you need without physical contact.


My anaesthetic or pre-admission appointment has been changed to a telehealth appointment. What is telehealth?

The Queensland Health Telehealth Portal provides an easy, safe and secure way to videoconference (VC) with your doctor or health professional from within a web browser on your personal computer (PC), laptop or Mac; or through an app on your tablet or smart phone.

If you have received a notice that your pre-admission or anaesthetic appointment has changed to a telehealth appointment, you will be contacted with further information and support on how to set up telehealth on your personal device.


My anaesthetic or pre-admission appointment has been changed to a phone or telehealth appointment.  Will I be called or seen by a doctor, nurse and/or pharmacist?

Your appointment will still be conducted by a clinician from your treating team.  Depending on your situation, your clinical team may include a specialist doctor, a medical registrar, a specialist nurse or an allied health clinician such as a pharmacist.


My surgery was postponed. Will I get another surgery date?

Yes, you will be offered another surgery date as soon as we are able to provide you with a new date. You will remain on the surgical waiting list and will not lose your position on the waiting list.

While responding to COVID-19, clinical teams are triaging patients to ensure the most urgent patients are seen first.

Please continue to monitor your condition with your General Practitioner (GP) or clinician who referred you for your surgery.


My surgery was postponed but my condition is worsening.  What do I do?

Contact your GP to discuss your care and to provide advice on how to manage your condition. If required, your GP may request the hospital review your case.

If your condition is too serious to wait or is an emergency, call 000 and ask for an ambulance, or attend your closest hospital emergency department.


I received a message that I am still required to attend my upcoming surgery, but I am sick or in self-isolation or quarantine. What should I do?

To ensure the health and wellbeing of all patients and staff, if you are currently;

  • in self-isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 precautions,
  • sick, have a fever, and/or a flu-like illness,
  • or unable to attend your surgery for other reasons,

Please advise the hospital as soon as possible so they can notify your treating clinical team and arrange another surgery date for you at a later date.


I received a message that I am still required to attend my upcoming surgery. Why was it not postponed?

Your clinical team has requested you proceed with surgery because of your condition.


What do I need to know prior to coming to hospital for my surgery?

  • To practice social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19, we have introduced temporary changes to visitor arrangements for the protection of our vulnerable patients. At all WBHHS facilities, we have limited visitors to one per person per day, and for patients in isolation we have asked visitors not to attend at all.
  • Please adhere to physical distancing requirements by keeping a minimum of 1.5 metres between yourself and others when you attend the hospital
  • All admission, waiting and consultation areas, toilets, and shared spaces are being frequently cleaned and sanitised
  • Hand sanitising facilities are available throughout the hospital
  • Hospital entrance points will display instructions for patients that attend who are showing signs of being unwell. If you are unwell, please phone the hospital prior to arriving for your surgery.

I would like to know more about COVID-19

To stay informed and read the latest announcements about COVID-19 and up-to-date advice for your situation, go to

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

If your health deteriorates or you have any further questions regarding your condition, please contact your GP.


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Got any of these symptoms? Get tested.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – including fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, vomiting/nausea, or loss of smell or taste – you should be tested. To find out where to get tested in Wide Bay, visit our  fever clinics page

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service

Last updated: 25 March 2020