Pre-operative testing

In line with Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, all patients coming for elective surgery and other procedures that require a general anaesthetic at Epworth sites in metropolitan Melbourne require COVID-19 swabbing ahead of their procedure.

This includes:

  • all elective surgery (including endoscopy).
  • emergency surgery
  • IVF and maternity
  • electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • carers who will be accompanying patients overnight, including paediatric patients.

In line with DHHS guidelines, Epworth Geelong patients requiring a general anaesthetic no longer require COVID-19 testing prior to their admission if they:

  • Live in regional Victoria
  • Do not work in Metropolitan Melbourne
  • Have not visited Metropolitan Melbourne in the past 14 days
  • Do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Note: Medical admissions (not involving surgery), dialysis and day-infusions do not require testing.

We request that the test be performed 72 hours prior to admission to hospital for surgery.

It is important for patients self-isolate after their test, until the time of their admission (no matter what the test results are in the interim).

If a patient is unable to self-isolate prior to surgery this should immediately be discussed with their surgeon.

If a patient is dependent on a carer, their carer should also get tested and then isolate with patient at prior to surgery.

Patient information: General patient information and testing locations 

Patient information: Isolating before your surgery (PDF, 51KB)

If patients have their swab taken at a non-Epworth facility, they will need to call us to inform us of the result and bring validation of their swab result when they present for admission.

Patients/carers are required to self-isolate from the time they take their test, until the time of their admission (irrespective of the test results in the interim).

For any questions or advice on where to get tested or to make an appointment, patients, caregivers and designated visitors can contact 03 9426 0666.

VMOs are advised that the risks for COVID-19 patients undergoing both elective and emergency surgery are higher than otherwise expected, even when surgery is relatively minor. Therefore, it is safer to postpone elective surgery for someone who is symptomatic or who tests positive for COVID-19, even if they subsequently prove to be negative or a false positive, than to proceed and find out they are a true positive.

Also see:

Please note, we have had reports that some drive through testing sites have refused asymptomatic patient testing and we recommend patients use an Epworth Pre Op Testing Clinic.

Where a patient has obtained a test outside these sites, documentation of the test results will need to be sighted by the treating health team.

Patient screening

To ensure the safety of patients, doctors and staff, screening processes for patients will continue, including pre-admission screening, and again, on presentation to hospital.

It is a patient’s responsibility to be vigilant and honest to prevent putting themselves, other patients and staff at significant risk.

Please see our screening requirements so you can inform your patients of the screening questions.

Elective surgery

From Monday, 21 Sept 2020, Epworth Geelong will increase elective surgery capacity, with our Melbourne hospitals to follow on Monday, 28 Sept 2020.


Medical practitioners who usually work across multiple Epworth sites are asked to work at one site only. This is to ensure appropriate management of capped requirements and equitable access to theatres.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Please refer and adhere to the latest PPE Information. We will be monitoring stock levels daily.