Elective Surgery

Elective surgery refers to non-emergency surgery that is medically necessary, but which can be delayed for at least 24 hours.

If you have been scheduled for surgery, and placed on the elective surgery waiting list, the following information will assist you to understand the process.

Location for surgery

The elective surgery you require may not be available at your closest hospital or health service.

East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) provides health care to people living in the east metropolitan area at any one of the following hospitals or health services:

Your surgery will be scheduled at the most appropriate location to ensure you receive your surgery in the best possible time.

Your GP can help

While you wait for your surgery it is important to keep your regular appointments with your GP. Your GP will help:

  • keep you fit and well in preparation for your surgery
  • contact the hospital if there is any change in your condition.

COVID-19 testing for elective surgery patients

To maximise patient and staff safety, all patients attending a Western Australian hospital for planned elective surgery, and any accompanying approved essential visitor, must complete a rapid antigen test (RAT) when they arrive at the hospital.

The RAT test checks if you have COVID-19 and provides a result within 15 to 30 minutes.

Before you attend your surgery

Depending on the time between your booking and your surgery, you will receive a letter, email or phone call detailing your surgery plan, including RAT screening instructions for when you arrive at the hospital.

In the days leading up to, or the day of your surgery, your treating team will determine the impact on your care if you test positive for COVID-19 and will proceed with your surgery or procedure if safe to do so.

Do not attend an elective appointment if you are unwell. Contact the Elective Waitlist Service on 9224 2914 before your admission if you:

  • develop COVID -19 symptoms (HealthyWA)
  • have recently travelled outside of WA
  • have been to a COVID-19 exposure site (HealthyWA) during the specified times
  • work in a high-risk area
  • are under quarantine or self-isolation
  • are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • a person who received a recent positive COVID-19 test result, i.e. within the last two weeks.

If you can make your own way to your appointment independently and safely, please do not bring a support person with you into the hospital. If necessary, your support person can drive you to the hospital for you to make your own way to your appointment.

If you are unable to attend your appointment in the hospital without assistance, please only bring one support person with you during admission and when it is time for you to go home. Please note your support person will have to leave the hospital site until they are advised that you are ready to return home. Read information for all visitors on for information on proof of vaccination for essential visitors and carers.

On the day of your surgery

Please bring with you the letter or email you received with the details of your surgery. This will help our staff direct you after your RAT screening.

If you need assistance from an approved carer or essential visitor, please ensure they bring their proof of vaccination and evidence of any relevant exemption. They will also undergo RAT screening. Read more about access for visitors.

When you arrive at the hospital

Do not arrive before 6am. Pre-admission RAT screening is conducted at the N Block Testing Centre on the corner of Murray Street and Wellington Square. Download the RPH map for more information.

The RAT screening process

On entering the N Block Testing Centre, you will undergo an initial COVID-19 screening questionnaire.

You will be asked to complete a RAT - assistance from staff is available for those who are unable to complete a RAT independently.

You will be asked to remain within the N Block Testing Centre to await the results of your RAT. These results will then be provided to the Department of Health.

Please note staff will take all necessary measures to ensure that this process does not delay your attendance to the ward.

If your RAT result is positive for COVID-19

The risks associated with surgery are much higher for people with COVID-19 and must be weighed against the risks of delaying treatment.

It is likely that your surgery will be postponed if you test positive for COVID-19. You will be asked to immediately return home and isolate as per the current COVID guidelines for WA.

If your treating team determines you need urgent care, your surgery may go ahead as planned with a range of additional precautions. This may include moving you to an isolation area.

If your approved essential visitor tests positive for COVID-19 this may also result in your surgery being delayed. Again, your treating team will determine the next steps in your care.

If your elective surgery is postponed

Please be assured postponing your surgery due to a positive COVID-19 RAT does not mean you will go to the end of the elective surgery waitlist. Your procedure will be rebooked, and you will be contacted with further details.

Last Updated: 17/03/2023