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Dear Members,


Cancellation of all cataract surgery from 1 April until further notice.

You will be aware that yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that elective surgery in both public and private settings will cease from 1 April, except for Category 1 and some exceptional Category 2 items. RANZCO and the ASO are making it very clear to Fellows that we do not consider elective cataract surgery fits within these categories.

The cessation of elective surgery is to preserve much needed medical supplies and free up hospital beds and ventilators in preparation for a rapid influx of COVID-19 patients.

Some Fellows may think they should be able to continue as normal or to categorise their patients in a way that might meet some urgent criteria. There can be no reason why cataracts cannot wait until this crisis is over. Sacrifices are being made across the whole of medicine and the whole of Australia. We need to play our part. We have been advised that any day surgeries found to be flaunting the directive of government may find their accreditation to operate or any future financial support from government very quickly cancelled.

When the COVID-19 emergency is over, the cataract patients will still be there, as will ophthalmologists, and we will be able to treat them appropriately. In the meantime, there are patients who will require urgent and essential treatments to keep their sight. It is our job to service these patients. It is up to every one of us to ensure that individuals do not damage the profession of ophthalmology in these difficult times.

Kind regards,

Heather Mack

RANZCO President

Peter Sumich

ASO President