COVID-19 testing for elective surgery patients
To maximise patient and staff safety, all patients attending a Western Australian hospital for planned elective surgery, and any accompanying approved essential visitor, need to complete a rapid antigen test (RAT) when they arrive at the hospital.
This quick test checks if you have COVID-19 and provides a result within 15 to 30 minutes.
The following information applies to planned elective surgery patients, including inductions of labour, booked maternity appointments, elective caesarean sections and paediatric surgery.
Depending on the time between your booking and your surgery, you will receive a letter, email or phone call detailing your surgery plan, including RAT screening instructions when you arrive at the hospital.
As your surgery date approaches, your treating team will determine the risk to you of proceeding with your surgery if you test positive for COVID-19 in the days before or day of your surgery.
Do not attend an elective surgery appointment if you are unwell. Contact your treating doctor before your admission if you:
- develop COVID-19 symptoms (Healthy WA)
- have recently travelled outside of WA
- have been to a COVID-19 exposure sites (Healthy WA) during the specified times
- work in a high-risk area
- are under quarantine or self-isolation
- are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or
- a person who received a recent positive swab result, i.e. within the last 2 weeks.
If you can make your way to your appointment independently and safely, please do not bring a support person with you into the hospital. If necessary, your support person can drive you to the hospital for you to make your own way to your appointment.
Please advise your treating team if you:
- have an essential visitor to accompany you
- have mobility issues and will require assistance to move throughout the hospital once you arrive.
Read information for all visitors on proof of vaccination documents and screening processes.
If you need assistance from an approved carer or essential visitor, please ensure they bring their proof of vaccination and evidence of mask exemption, if relevant. They will also undergo RAT screening. Read more about access for visitors.
When you arrive at the hospital
Do not arrive before 6:30am. Pre-admission RAT screening is conducted within the main hospital, you will be directed to the Pre-admission Covid testing area once you come inside.
To determine your COVID-19 risk status, screening staff will ask a series of questions about your health and of any visits to known COVID-19 exposure locations.
The RAT screening process
Our staff will record your details before your RAT screening.
A nurse will complete the RAT. You will then be given a sticker that you must wear at all times to identify you have been screened.
You will be asked to wait in the RAT screening area until your result is ready
The risks associated with surgery are much higher for people with COVID-19 and must be weighed against the risks of delaying treatment.
It is likely that your surgery will be postponed if you test positive for COVID-19. You will be asked to have a PCR test (Healthy WA) for COVID-19 and then immediately return home and isolate as per the current COVID guidelines for WA.
If your treating team determines you need urgent care, your surgery may go ahead as planned with a range of additional precautions. This may include moving you to an isolation area.
If your approved essential visitor tests positive for COVID-19 this may also result in your surgery being delayed. Again, your treating team will determine the next steps in your care.
Please be assured postponing your surgery due to a positive COVID-19 RAT does not mean you will go to the end of the elective surgery waitlist. Your procedure will be rebooked and you will be contacted with further details.
The majority of patients will follow the RAT screening pathway detailed below.
Some patients, such as those who are immunocompromised, will undergo RAT screening in different locations. Patients who will be advised of the alternative RAT screening processes include those receiving:
For further information
If you have any questions or concerns, please discuss with or call the clinic/area that you will be visiting for your appointment/ admission.
Our dedicated team of professional staff are committed to providing you with the highest standards of care from pre admission to discharge.
Submitting your admission form
To ensure we can confirm your admission, financial and other arrangements, we ask that you:
Fill in the online admission form, or
Complete an Admission Information Booklet, available from your doctor or from the hospital, and send it to us as soon as possible.
You will need the following information to complete these forms:
- Personal/Next of Kin details
- Medicare Card
- Funding details (eg DVA, Private health insurance, workcover or self funding) if applicable
- Benefit details (eg pharmacy benefit card or pension card)
- Item numbers and any information about prosthetics and disposables if you have been advised of these by your doctor
Checking your health fund cover (private patients only)
Please contact your health fund to confirm your cover as soon as possible. Depending on your insurer and your level of cover, you may have out of pocket expenses (such as excess or copayment etc). All costs need to be paid prior to admission.
Ask your doctor about your medications and what to take before and during your hospital stay.
Confirming your admission time
Your surgeon will advise admission time for day of surgery. If there are changes to the admission time, you will be contacted by the PHC Operating Theatre the day prior.
Pre admission Clinic
Your doctor may ask you to attend our Pre admission clinic. To make an appointment, please call 08 9531 8557.
The purpose of the pre admission clinic visit is to:
- Obtain a thorough medical and surgical history and review medications
- Conduct blood tests, X-rays, ECG and other investigations
- Have relevant allied health professionals, such as dietician, physiotherapist or social worker, assess your needs
- Provide information about the surgical procedure and recovery process
- Arrange for your discharge home or to rehabilitation
- Understand your needs and answer your questions
If you are scheduled to attend, please bring with you:
- A list of your current medications
- Current X-rays
- Doctors’ letters
- Past medical history from your general practitioner
Patient Information brochure
Orthopaedic Surgical Prophylaxis
Informed Financial Consent