IVF and low-risk elective surgery to resume post COVID-19 ban

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Eve Health welcomes Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement yesterday that all category two procedures in private hospitals and selected category three procedures, including In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatments and screening procedures, will recommence in a phased approach, subject to capacity after Anzac Day weekend.

Elective surgeries were cancelled last month to free up beds amid fears the coronavirus would overwhelm the hospital system. The decision has been reversed following a briefing from health officials, the decline in the spread of the disease and the arrival of millions of face masks and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE).

 

A message from our Clinical Director of Gynaecology, Doctor Tal Jacobson:

This announcement means that category two and some category three procedures can now be scheduled. This is described a ‘gradual restart’, and this may not allow all procedures to recommence.

It is likely that Private Hospitals will impose certain conditions on elective surgery, including mandatory testing for COVID-19 prior to surgery and self-isolation prior to surgery. The exact details of this are yet to be confirmed and may vary by hospital.

If you already have surgery booked, your Eve Health doctor will have categorised your surgery and their secretary should be in touch with you. We will be able to schedule a date for all category one and category two procedures.

It is possible, but not certain, that further restrictions will be lifted after a further Federal Government review on the 11th of May. In anticipation of this, category three procedures can provisionally be scheduled from the 18th of May, but will be dependent on Government policy at that time.

Please contact your Eve doctor’s secretary to confirm the categorisation of your surgery and plan a date. It is important to keep in touch with us, as regulations may change.

 

A message from our subspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and Medical Director of Queensland Fertility Group, Associate Professor Anusch Yazdani:

In March, all responsible IVF units in Australia and New Zealand voluntarily suspended assisted reproduction to reduce community transmission, followed shortly by a suspension of all non-urgent surgical procedures.

The suspension was an extremely difficult decision but was important to help flatten the curve. It placed a particular burden on women with persistent pain, such as endometriosis and older women or those who have a reduced egg reserve as an extended ban may have ended their chances of having a family.

Fortunately, Australia is now in a fundamentally different position and it is time to recommence treatment, not only because transmission rates have dropped, but also because of the availability of testing, case selection and use of protective equipment.

The announcement yesterday foreshadowed the resumption of surgical and fertility services, though is subject to Queensland jurisdiction, which is still to be defined.

As such, we have heightened a number of infection control protocols specifically directed at the current pandemic, including the implementation of telehealth appointments.

Hospitals and fertility units are busily preparing for the resumption of services, which is likely to be complete in the first week of May.

We recommend that our patients not only monitor our website and social media, but also contact our patient services team for updates on their individual plans and procedures from the week of 27th April, when the start-up procedures of our hospitals will have been finalised.

 


 

If you need further clarification about how this announcement affects you or your treatment, please reach out to your Eve Health doctor’s secretary, or contact our patient services team via email: reception@evehealth.com.au or phone: (07) 3332 1999.

Wishing you all the best,

The team at Eve Health.