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Elective surgery restrictions eased

The Australian Government in partnership with states and territories, peak surgical bodies, the AMA and the private hospital sector will be increasing the availability of elective surgery in a safe and carefully considered way which ensures the wellbeing of both patients and healthcare workers.

This is possible due to the strong collaboration across governments to build capacity and strengthen the health system to reduce the threat of COVID-19.

Through our containment measures we have successfully suppressed the virus: closing our borders, testing, tracing, and in particular, the social distancing and the isolation. These continue to be our strongest weapons against the coronavirus.

We have been boosting the capacity of the hospitals and in addition secured over 3000 new ventilators and we have now received 60 million masks into the national stockpile. From that, perhaps most importantly, we have secured an extra 100 million masks over the next six weeks to protect our vital health care workers in what has been an intensely competitive global environment.

Through testing we have had a rate of increase of less than 1 per cent per day for nine days straight now.

All these measures are helping to bring down the rate of transmission, flattening the curve and giving us the opportunity to relax some of our measures.

Restrictions on elective surgery have been a difficult but important part of ensuring the capacity across the health system to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, thanks to the efforts of all Australians – National Cabinet has agreed with the health advice that we are in a position to reintroduce some elective procedures.

We particularly acknowledge those patients who have had their elective surgery deferred and recognise the effect this has had on their lives and wellbeing.

The first phase of the reintroduction will occur on 27 April.

Our central aim is to increase the availability of elective surgery in a safe and equitable way, on a nationally consistent basis for public and private patients.

Reintroduction of elective surgery will be done using a staged and controlled process which balances the ongoing need for the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, while allowing our hospitals to treat elective surgery patients.

The selection of patients to undergo elective surgery will ultimately be a clinical one, guided by the following principles, recommended by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and endorsed by National Cabinet:

  • Procedures representing low risk, high value care as determined by specialist societies
  • Selection of patients who are at low risk of post-operative deterioration
  • Children whose procedures have exceeded clinical wait times
  • Assisted reproduction (IVF)
  • Endoscopic procedures
  • Screening programs
  • Critical dental procedures.

This first stage of reinstating elective surgeries will require health administrators to monitor supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), ICU and bed capacity, while preparing for the next phase.

On the advice of AHPPC, in addition to Category 1 elective surgeries, hospitals will initially recommence one in four closed operating lists, with a focus on Category 2 and some important Category 3.

In reintroducing elective surgery we acknowledge the safety of patients and healthcare workers is paramount. A thorough risk assessment of patients planned for elective surgery is essential, based on national guidelines.

There will be a national a study into asymptomatic carriage of COVID-19 in elective surgery patients to further inform testing policy.

Personal protective equipment is a critical element of staff safety and the use of PPE should be in accordance with national guidelines. The grade of PPE should be determined according to the national suspected case definitions.

The Australian, state and territory governments have put in place clear timeframes to monitor and review the situation as part of our commitment to protect patients, health care staff and consistent with AHPPC advice.

An overall review for additional support will be undertaken at two weeks and at four weeks based on:

  • The number of positive cases, in both healthcare workers and patients, linked to increased activity
  • PPE use and availability
  • The volume of procedures and hospital/system capacity.


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Department of Health health latest information

The latest information from Australian Departament of Health.

The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how Australian Department of Health is monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms. 

Please click on the link below to check the latest information: 


Current status

The situation is changing rapidly. Stay up to date with the latest information about the spread of COVID-19 and the steps being taken to slow the spread.

Stay informed

Read the latest announcements about COVID-19 and up-to-date advice for your situation.

Current status in Australia

For daily reports of reported COVID-19 cases, go to current situation and case numbers.

For what we’re doing to slow the spread, go to Government response to COVID-19.

How to protect yourself and others

Everyone must practise good hygiene to protect against infection and prevent the virus spreading.

Practise good hygiene by sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, dispose of the tissue, wash your hands and use sanitiser

If you have a confirmed case, you need to isolate yourself to prevent it spreading to other people.

What you can do

We can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.

Read protect yourself and others for advice on good hygiene, self-isolation, and social distancing.

To help protect people most at risk, follow our advice on public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.

Symptoms and when to get tested


Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

When to get tested

If you develop symptoms within 14 days of last contact with a confirmed case or of returning to Australia, you should seek medical attention. Your doctor will tell you if you need to get tested.

If you’re concerned

Call the Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Coronavirus Health Information Line

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19). The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

View contact

Additional advice


Our advice for travellers provides information on airport and in-flight biosecurity measures, travel restrictions and other arrangements that apply.

Health and aged care sector

Our advice for the health and aged care sector includes Public Health Unit guidelines, epidemiology reports and other resources.

Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra


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Firies No Gap Cataract copy

We’re hiring. Join us.

Medical Receptionist / Typist – Specialist Rooms

We are seeking a mature minded, experienced medical receptionist / typist to join our team. This position will primarily manage the day to day workflow of the front desk, ensuring the smooth operation of patient clinics and also typing medical correspondence. It is a full time position. We seek someone who understands the commitment of working in a small and cohesive team that prioritise patient care, and someone who demonstrates a high level of professionalism and reliability. Experience in specialist medical reception and administration is essential.

We also have part-time receptionist position available.

Essential Criteria – to be considered, candidates must have:

  • At least 2 years experience in a similar position (preferably working within a surgical specialist practice)
  • A genuine interest and passion for the medical/healthcare sector and providing patients with a superior level of customer service
  • Excellent communication skills and a strong customer focus
  • Excellent phone manner and ability to deal politely with patient queries
  • Excellent writing and general computer skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail, strong time management skills and immaculate presentation
  • Experience with patient billings, management of bookings and theatre lists
  • Experience using medical practice management software is desirable, particularly Shexie
  • Advanced skills and understanding in medical billing, including ECLIPSE

Some of your day to day responsibilities will include (but not be limited to):

  • Managing all incoming telephone calls, emails and general patient enquiries
  • Meet and greet of patients visiting the practice
  • Managing all patient bookings and ensuring the smooth day to day running of patient clinics
  • Liaising closely with hospitals, patients and other referring specialists
  • Patient billing and receipting for consultations
  • Typing and dispatching of medical correspondence

Other required skills and attributes:

  • Strong team working ethics, ability to work well within a small team environment
  • Competent knowledge of Medicare guidelines
  • Highly professional, with strong initiative and organisational skills
  • Energetic person with a positive outlook and an excellent ability to multitask
  • Well presented, friendly, flexible and efficient

Position is available for immediate start if successful.

All applications must include CV and a cover letter addressed to the Practice Manager, Dorota Opiela: dorota@northernsydneycataract.com.au.

Applications without a cover letter unfortunately will not be considered.

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Dr Jay Yohendran HOD RPAH

Dr Jay Yohendran – Head of Ophthalmology Department


Dr Jay Yohendran has been appointed as the Head of the Ophthalmology Department at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

He has been working there as a consultant since 2012, and was a Senior Registrar in 2010. Dr Yohendran was honoured and humbled to accept the promotion to Head of Department, and he looks forward to serving the Hospital and leading the Department into the next decade.

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OPTOS Ultra-widefield Imaging


OPTOS Ultra-widefield imaging is now available at Northern Sydney Cataract and optomap is a part of our comprehensive eye exam.

We are proud to announce our new fundus fluorescein angiogram available at our clinic. This allows us to provide full scope care for medical retina patients, including the treatment of AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vascular occlusions. Optos produces ultra wide-field images with a field of view up to 200 degrees, compared to standard angiogram images of around 70 degrees. This enlarged field of view influences the management of conditions that affect the peripheral retina, in particular diabetic retinopathy and vascular occlusions.


Ocular Ischemia Syndrome; FA; taken with the California,



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Dr Dov Hersh | Oculoplastic and Ophthalmic Surgeon

I am pleased to announce that Dr Dov Hersh is now consulting at Northern Sydney Cataract | Retina | Glaucoma.

Dr Dov Hersh is an oculoplastic and ophthalmic surgeon with rare dual international fellowship qualifications in both oculoplastics and medical retina. He specialises in scarless endoscopic lacrimal surgery, minimally invasive lid surgery and periocular tumour management.

Dr Dov Hersh also offers the latest treatments in the management of cataract and retinal disorders. I have known Dov for many years now, and I know that he understands the importance of listening to his patients needs and takes pride in keeping up-to-date with the evidence and latest advances in ophthalmology, so he can individualise the care he provides.

I am very excited to be work with Dov, and I am sure you will be impressed with the feedback from your patients in the future.

Dr Jay Yohendran

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Optic Nerve Pit

Case studies: Optic Nerve Pit with sub retinal fluid

Optic Nerve Pit OCT

This is a photo of a 17 year old female I saw last week. This is an Optic Nerve Pit with sub retinal fluid. It is a congenital condition. She presented with a 3 day history of blur and distortion in the right eye, with the blurring and distortion moving to the central part of her visual field 1 day ago. She presents acuities of the right 6/90, no improvement with pinhole and the left 6/6.

Normally, an isolated optic nerve pit would not call for any treatment. However, due to the sub-retinal fluid, this patient will require a vitrectomy. I’ll keep you updated on his progress.

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