Elective surgery

A male consultant wearing Fiona Stanley Hospital scrubs stands in a treatment area

SMHS is committed to delivering high quality, timely and patient-focused elective surgery services.

Elective surgery is a term used for non-emergency surgery that is medically necessary, but can be delayed for at least 24 hours. People who need emergency treatment will not be placed on the elective surgery waiting list.

Elective surgery is usually performed by a surgeon in an operating theatre or procedure room under some form of anaesthesia. Elective procedures performed in the WA health system must be clinically necessary to improve a patient's health. Procedures performed for cosmetic or other non-medical reasons are not routinely performed in WA’s public health system.

Our network

SMHS provides health care to people living in the south metropolitan area via our network of health services and hospitals, which include:

The elective surgery you require may not be available at your closest hospital and it may also take place in a different location to your outpatient appointment. Your surgery will be scheduled at the most appropriate location for timely treatment. On occasion, this may also mean transferring referrals between our hospitals in order to fast-track surgical procedures. You will receive information if your care is to be transferred.

Be assured that regardless of the location of your surgery, you will be referred to the right hospital and be provided with high quality, patient focused care.

Elective surgery categories

There are three clinical categories used nationally to classify patients for elective surgery. Your treating specialist will assign your elective surgery according to one of the following categories:

  • Category 1: procedures that are clinically indicated within 30 days
  • Category 2: procedures that are clinically indicated within 90 days
  • Category 3: procedures that are clinically indicated within 365 days.

You will receive your elective surgery according to the category you have been given. Most patients are treated in the order they are added to the waiting list.

Every effort is made to meet the elective surgery timeframes for each category; however, patients requiring emergency surgery are given priority and this alters the availability of operating theatres and medical staff able to undertake elective surgery on any given day.

Your GP can help

It is important to keep your regular appointments with your GP while you are waiting for your surgery or procedure.

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.

More information

Last Updated: 17/11/2023