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Emergency Surgery

Emergency surgery is a major component of the provision of surgical services for the population of NSW and is often more complex and surgically challenging than elective surgery. It makes up a substantial volume of the workload of surgeons in many hospitals and is relatively resource intensive. The community rightfully expects that this surgery is easy to access and is expertly performed and managed.

The major issues that necessitate operational reconfiguration and the introduction of new clinical models include:

  • matching demand for emergency surgery with resources
  • matching demand for emergency caesareans with resources
  • roles of individual hospitals in providing emergency surgery
  • after-hours workload of emergency surgery
  • safe working hours
  • supervision of junior staff
  • disruption to elective surgery by emergency surgery
  • sub-specialisation of surgeons and surgical trainees
  • inter-hospital transfer of patients with specific conditions
  • patient handover between surgical teams
  • recognition of surgeon commitment
  • use of clinical guidelines in emergency surgery.

Emergency Services Implementation Project

Following the release of the Emergency Surgery Guidelines (June 2009), the NSW Department of Health and the Surgical Services Taskforce undertook the Emergency Surgery Implementation Project, the reports from which are available below.


Emergency Surgery Guidelines and Principles for Improvement

Emergency Surgery Redesign Toolkit for Implementation (pdf 1.2MB)

Final Report (pdf 1.4MB)

Surgery for Children in Metropolitan Sydney: Strategic Framework

Emergency surgery redesign (pdf 345KB)

Position statement on emergency surgery - Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

Making sense of emergency surgery in New South Wales: a position statement
Stephen A. Deane, Donald G. MacLellan, Gavin L. Meredith and Patrick C. Cregan on behalf of the Surgical Services Taskforce – Emergency Surgery Sub-group. ANZ Journal of Surgery, Volume 80 Issue 3, 2010, p 139-144 doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2010.05216.x

Program Contacts

Melinda Pascoe
A/Principal Policy Advisor – Surgery
NSW Ministry of Health
Phone: 02 9391 9557