A message from Dr Gately and Dr McLeod
With the current progression of the COVID-19 crisis, it is clear that there is going to be a strain placed on the healthcare system.
Dr Mark Gately and Dr Martin McLeod are in complete agreement with the unwavering position taken by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) that all non-urgent surgery must be postponed as we prepare to tackle COVID-19.
We understand some surgeons are continuing to perform non-urgent surgery until the deadline. This is not our approach. We are choosing to postpone non-urgent surgery based on recommendations from RACS and the Australian Society of Anaesthetists until we know more about the current status of the healthcare system locally.
Our reasoning for this position is as follows:
- With the current unknown rate of community spread, we feel a cautious approach is warranted to minimise exposure to patients and staff involved in the care of the patient.
- We are concerned about the prospect of a patient undergoing weight loss surgery then contracting COVID-19 during their recovery or possibly performing surgery on a patient who is infected but asymptomatic at the time of surgery.
- Reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) may run very low and may be needed to protect the lives of healthcare workers. We feel that using up PPE for non-urgent procedures at this uncertain time may threaten the lives of healthcare workers.
- The continuation of non-urgent surgery is at odds with the principles of social distancing which we know is the key to controlling this pandemic.
We feel that this is ethically and morally the right decision, however, we understand that this may be upsetting news and disappointing for some of our patients. Our team are continuing to contact patients and keep them updated as this situation continues to evolve.
Mark and Martin
Many people are isolated and impacted by COVID-19. To support patients during this time, Dr Gately and Dr McLeod are offering free (bulk billed) initial assessments via telehealth for patients referred by their GP and with a BMI over 35 (calculate your BMI with our simple calculator).
Non-urgent surgery is currently on hold locally. When it resumes we are anticipating patients will be keen to progress to surgery relatively quickly. By providing initial assessments and a range of other pre-operative consultations via telehealth, we are doing our best to continue the weight loss journey for our patients and minimise wait times when surgery resumes.