If you have been referred to Werribee Mercy Hospital for elective surgery, your first step is your ‘outpatient appointment’, which will take place at one of our outpatients clinics. This is where a clinician will confirm the best possible approach for your personal illness or presentation; please note that not all referrals for an outpatient appointment result in surgery. Find out what to expect for your outpatient appointment, and learn how the public health system determines surgery dates for different patients.
How to access – referral to outpatient clinic
Referrals are accepted from GPs and medical specialists. Referrals need to be faxed through to the Outpatient Department. To ensure appropriate and timely triage, all clinical details, including relevant investigation results, should be included with referral.
Your outpatient clinic appointment
At your outpatient clinic appointment you will be required to sign a consent for surgery form.
You may also be:
- referred for follow-up with medical/surgical/alternative conservative treatment
- referred to elective surgery specialty unit waitlist (not surgeon’s waitlist)
- referred to follow-up investigation which may result in referral to surgical or non-surgical treatment
- given a referral to alternative conservative treatment
- required to complete a health questionnaire and consent form.
Not all referrals to our Outpatient Department result in surgery.
The health questionaire
The Health questionnaire allows us to gather as much information about your medical history as possible. This will assist with the triage process and ensure the care provided is based on your requirements.
Allocating your elective surgery date
You will be triaged by staff at the Pre-admission Clinic (PAC). Based on information provided, staff will consider the following:
- anaesthetic review
- phone call to clarify other medical conditions
- Pre-admission Clinic may not be required as not all referrals result in surgery
- whether the date and time of your surgery should be changed based on the urgency category.
You will be allocated a surgery date based on your category and position on waitlist.
You are allocated a date for your elective operation according to the urgency category the doctor allocates you, and the number of days you have waited for your operation. Mercy Health implements a ‘treat in turn’ policy regardless of a patient’s public or private admission status. This means that patients with an urgent category or clinical need are scheduled for their operation as a priority.
The doctor that performs your operation may not be the same doctor you saw at your outpatient appointment.
Understanding elective surgery categories and considerations at public hospitals
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) require all patients placed on a public hospital elective surgery waiting list are assigned a clinical urgency category based on a patient’s clinical need for surgery. The three urgency categories are:
- Category 1 – Admission is desirable for a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point it may become an emergency.
- Category 2 – Admission within 90 days is desirable due to the clinical condition of the patient.
- Category 3 – Admission within 365 days is desirable due to the clinical condition of the patient.
Patients on the elective surgery waiting list are listed as either Ready for Surgery or Not Ready for Surgery.
Ready for Surgery – patients are ready to be admitted for the proposed operation or begin the pre-admission process.
Not Ready for Surgery – patients can be not ready for surgery for either ‘patient’ or ‘clinical’ reasons.
- Patient reasons – patients are not available to be admitted for their operation due to personal reasons. For example, patients that are going on holiday, or who have work commitments that preclude them from having their operation. There are time restrictions on the amount of time a patient can make themselves not ready for surgery for personal reasons and remain on the elective surgery waiting list.
- Clinical reasons – patients are not available to be admitted for their operation until their clinical health improves. For example, patients that require cardiac review or respiratory investigations prior to their operation.
Treatment in turn
Patients with an urgent category or clinical need are scheduled for their operation as a priority. Patients with a lower urgency category are scheduled according to the number of days they have waited for their surgery within their urgency category.
Last reviewed October 23, 2017.