WA tackles virus-induced surgery backlog

By AAP Newswire

A big backlog in elective surgery in Western Australia could return to pre-coronavirus levels next year with the state government spending $36 million on an operations blitz.

The extra funding will allow about 5800 more elective procedures to be conducted by the end of this year and may involve "twilight" and weekend surgery.

"For many West Australians, this will significantly improve their quality of life," Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Wednesday.

"When you're waiting for surgery, particularly if it's quite serious and debilitating but not urgent, it can be very difficult."

Health Minister Roger Cook said the state government wasn't expecting a big influx in returned overseas travellers in light of Victoria's recent spike in cases, which continues to worsen.

"We're obviously prepared to do our bit as required but we don't want Western Australia to shoulder any unnecessary burden," Mr Cook said.

"And obviously we'd expect those gateway cities on the east coast and Adelaide to do their fair share."

He said the state government continued to seek legal advice about recouping costs of quarantining returned travellers, with 1800-2000 people in Perth hotels during the pandemic and more than 300 arriving in the city daily.

Mr McGowan said he was not surprised calls for WA to reopen its interstate borders had quietened in light of the crisis in Victoria.

"The rules over east and the chopping and changing has been a bit of a dog's breakfast," he said.

No new cases were confirmed in WA overnight, leaving the state's tally at 611, and four cases remain active.