Elective surgery dashboard frequently asked questions

Skip to sections of information using the corresponding links below:

 What is elective surgery?

Elective surgery is the name given to planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment resulting in placement on an elective surgery waiting list.

It does not cover emergency surgery or treatment, nor does it cover medical treatment.

Patients requiring elective surgery are placed on a waiting list to be treated according to the clinical urgency category assigned by the treating medical practitioner.

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 What are the elective surgery waiting times?

The length of time you will wait for admission is affected by a number of factors, including the type of treatment needed, clinical urgency and the hospital to which patients are being admitted.

Clinical urgency categories are used for all elective surgery undertaken in South Australian public hospitals. If you require elective surgery, your public hospital treating clinician will assign you a clinical urgency category based on an assessment of your clinical condition.

There are three clinical urgency categories used to indicate the timeframe in which an elective surgery procedure is clinically required:

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

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 Why is this information being made available on the Internet?

The Elective Surgery dashboard provides the South Australian community with easy access to up-to-date information about how the State’s metropolitan and country public hospitals are performing. It also helps to remove some of the mystique around how hospitals are run and informs the public about how elective surgery is managed in a busy hospital environment.

This dashboard does not show average waiting times or how long individual patients are waiting for Elective Surgery. The dashboard shows the time periods patients in the Elective Surgery clinical urgency categories are waiting for surgery, by specialty and hospital.

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 What do hospitals use the dashboard for?

The Elective Surgery dashboard is one of many tools that our hospitals use to manage and monitor waiting times.

This dashboard is designed to be a tool that assists hospital management, surgeons and hospital schedulers to monitor elective surgery demand and to schedule elective surgery.

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 How often is the Elective Surgery dashboard updated?

The data is updated daily to show data from the previous day.

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 Why are there overdue patients on the list?

Every attempt is made to treat patients within the clinically indicated time, however sometimes other factors can impact the timely treatment of all patients.This includes the need for public hospitals to give priority to emergency patients who need a hospital bed.

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 Why is surgery postponed?

Postponement of elective surgery occurs when the scheduled admission of a patient is delayed. There are a number of reasons for postponements, and they can be initiated by a patient or by a hospital. Examples of patient initiated postponements may include unavailability due to overseas travel, or that the patient is unwell near the time that their surgery is due. A hospital may postpone an admission to make way for a more urgent case, or if a patient is reassessed by their treating clinician and deemed to be temporarily unfit for surgery. If a hospital needs to postpone a patient, the hospital will work with the patient to reschedule their surgery as soon as possible, based on clinical need.

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 If I am on an elective surgery waiting list, can I use this dashboard as a tool to determine my waiting time?

No. The dashboard has been designed to assist surgeons and hospital schedulers in planning elective surgery, and it does not provide information on how long an individual patient will have to wait for elective surgery.

SA public hospitals make every attempt to ensure elective surgery patients are treated promptly and within the clinically appropriate time.

If you are already waiting to be admitted to a public hospital and you are worried about the waiting time or your medical condition deteriorates, you should discuss this with your referring General Practitioner who can review your clinical condition and seek or provide additional information to the public hospital if necessary.

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 Are all public hospitals included on the dashboard?

The Elective Surgery dashboard currently includes information for all metropolitan hospitals and 29 country hospitals that undertake elective surgery, with the exception of hospitals that have started using the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS).EPAS hospitals (Noarlunga Health Service, Repatriation General Hospital and Pt Augusta Hospital) have been excluded from SA Health’s Elective Surgery dashboard while analysis of the data is undertaken to ensure it is able to be accurately reported in the current dashboard format. As analysis is completed, each hospital will be re-introduced to the Elective Surgery dashboard.

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 Why is the Elective Surgery dashboard unavailable or not displaying the most up-to-date data?

The Elective Surgery dashboard may be unavailable, or updates may be less frequent due to unforeseen technical reasons or scheduled system maintenance. If an error message is displayed, please try again at another time.

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 What if I can’t see the Elective Surgery dashboard?

The dashboard system requires a minimum of Flash Player version 9 to view. The latest version of Flash Player can be freely downloaded from the Adobe website.If you are unable to use Flash Player and want a copy of the data in an alternative format, please contact us on

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 What is being done to improve SA’s public hospitals?

The South Australian Government has launched Transforming Health, to transform the South Australian public health system so that all patients receive the best care, first time, every time.Through Transforming Health changes will be made to health services to ensure that metropolitan public hospitals provide consistent, quality care, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.In terms of elective surgery, this includes addressing issues that can sometimes impact timely access to elective surgery through:

  • Separating elective surgery and emergency surgery activity, including through the development of hospitals with an increased focus on elective surgery, for example Noarlunga Hospital will be further developed as a same day surgery site.
  • Increasing the rates of same day elective surgery, which will help more people to be treated more quickly, as well as freeing up inpatient beds for acute patients.

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 Do other states publish the same type of information?

South Australia is the first state in the country to make the level of information included on the Elective Surgery dashboard regularly available to the public.The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s My Hospitals website includes comparisons on national public hospital performance statistics.

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