Elective surgery & pre admission
Elective surgery and the Pre Admission Clinic operate as part of the Patient Services Centre (PSC)
If you require an operation, you will be referred to the PSC for placement onto a surgical waiting list. The referral will be written by a surgeon who has seen you either:
- in an outpatient clinic
- on the ward whilst you were an inpatient
Elective surgery differs from emergency surgery as your doctor has determined that the operation does not need to occur within the next 24 hours.
The timing of your surgery is based on your symptoms and clinical needs. There are three urgency categories for surgery which have been developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, for which all Victorian public hospitals must comply.
The three urgency categories are:
Category 1 - Admission within 30 days is desirable for a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point that it might 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
The surgeon referring you for surgery will determine the urgency category, and a change to category must be authorised by the treating surgeon or the Head of Unit. If your symptoms are worsening, we recommend you seek medical attention via your GP or the Emergency Department. If your surgery needs to be expedited, the surgeon or Head of Unit will contact PSC with a change to urgency category.
Throughout your time on the surgical waiting list, you and your GP will receive communication from the PSC regarding your progress. This communication will be by letter and/or phone call. Communication will occur at key points of your journey to ensure that you're informed of your progress.
We always strive to keep your planned surgical date, but as The Alfred is a state-wide trauma centre and treats complex patients, sometimes emergency cases take precedent over elective cases, which results in a cancellation of elective surgery cases. If this occurs, we will let you know of a new surgical date as soon as possible.
Pre Admission Clinic
When you are placed on a surgical waiting list, you will be asked to complete a Patient Health Questionnaire form (commonly referred to as a 'PAQ'). Depending on the type of surgery you are having, and your answers in the health questionnaire form, you may be required to attend the Pre Admission Clinic.
The Pre Admission Clinic is run by PSC, and during your appointment you will most likely see:
- a nurse - to go over your answers in the health questionnaire and take your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, ECG etc)
- an anaesthethist - to discuss the anaesthetic process on the day, what to expect, concerns or queries
- a pharmacist - to discuss your current medication regime and what you should do prior to surgery
- a registrar or surgeon from the surgical unit - to go over the operation, what to expect, your stay in hospital, concerns or queries
- a perioperative coordinator - to discuss a plan, answer any questions you may have and possibly provide a date for surgery
Depending on the type of surgery you are having, you may also see allied health staff such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or dietitian.
Further tests, such as bloods tests and x-rays, may also be completed on the day.
The aim of this clinic is to make you ready for surgery by completing all tests and clinical reviews on the same day. As this clinic is very comprehensive, you need to allow 3-4 hours for attendance. This may vary depending on the type of surgery you are having and the extent of tests required.