The ACT has accumulated a backlog of thousands of public surgeries, after coronavirus restrictions halted most elective procedures for months.
The federal government last week cleared the way for states and territories to restart all elective surgeries.
Most, except the most urgent, were put on hold in March as hospitals across the country braced for an influx of coronavirus patients and sought to preserve PPE supplies.
Canberra Health Service CEO Bernadette McDondald said the department was aiming to resume regular elective surgery numbers within the next few weeks. But the months of forced cancellations will have a longer term toll on health systems across the country.
Ms McDonald said she estimated that by the end of the financial year, there would be about 2250 planned surgeries the service would not have completed due to the shutdown.
"Those patients are being assessed and should any clinical urgency change in their clinical condition then they will be reprioritised," she said.
"We are working to provide advice to government on how we might address this backlog.
"These were surgeries that were planned and that would have been booked, had we not been following the Commonwealth guidelines in terms of ceasing elective surgery."
Ms McDonald said the organisation was working on a plan to get on top of the surgery logjam. "We will provide advice to government on what that might look like," she said.
But she flagged possible workforce issues, as health systems across the country also battled to catch up with missed surgeries.
The ACT would require extra staff and extra surgery lists to move through the pile-up efficiently.
"In the ACT we are in a great position though because we have established relationships with out private providers who have capacity," she said. "So that can factor into our plan in order to provide us that extra capacity."
Asked whether she was concerned about the clinical impact of delayed surgeries, Ms McDonald said the most clinically urgent patients were treated through the shutdown.
"We encourage the patients themselves if they experience any change in symptoms or any ill effects to see their GP or to call our hotline for elective surgery."
It came as the ACT went more than two weeks without recording a new coronavirus case.
ACT chief health officer Kerryn Coleman said people should still be looking out for symptoms and come forward for testing.
"We need to remain alert to the signs of COVID-19. If you're feeling unwell, please get tested," Dr Coleman said.
"Symptoms can vary between patients. The most common symptoms can include fever, shortness of breath, sore throat and cough. "Additionally, sudden onset of loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite can also be an indicator."
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