EXTRA elective surgeries are being added at Dubbo, Orange and Parkes hospitals as the region's waiting list blows out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All non-urgent elective surgeries were suspended on March 26 as Australia's health services prepared for a surge in virus patients.
Across the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) there are were 5613 people waiting for their day in the operating theatre by the end of the first quarter of the year, Bureau of Health Information data shows.
This is a 16.3 per cent increase on the number of people waiting at the end of the January to March quarter last year.
Forbes Hospital had the biggest increase in people waiting for elective surgery during the quarter with a 42.7 per cent jump (from 124 to 177 people).
This was followed by Dubbo at 33.3 per cent (1767 people to 2356), Bathurst at 4.7 per cent (898 to 940), Cowra was up 4.7 per cent (215 to 225), Orange at 4.0 per cent (1562 to 1625) and Mudgee at 3.1 per cent (129 to 133).
Surgery specialities most affected by the suspensions were: ear, nose and throat, along with gynaecology, general, orthopaedics, eye and urology.
Surgery specialities in the LHD most affected by the suspensions were: ear, nose and throat, along with gynaecology, general, orthopaedics, eye and urology.
While, Dubbo Hospital already has an extra theatre day each week, and one will soon come to Orange and additional surgeries will be added in Parkes, LHD executive director of operations Mark Spittal's statement provided to Australian Community Media did not include whether any changes to surgery capabilities would be made at Bathurst, Mudgee or Forbes hospitals.
He also would not comment on whether the surgery stoppages would lead to a further blow across the LHD in waiting times for patients.
Mr Spittal did, however, say NSW was on track to restore 75 per cent of usual elective surgeries by the end of June.
"The LHD is already achieving this level, and expects to be operating at 100 per cent of normal theatre capacity by mid-July," he said.
Mr Spittal said the return of surgery would be balanced with preparation for potential further COVID-19 cases to ensure that hospital capacity to manage the pandemic was maintained.
Meanwhile, the NSW Government has announced it will spend $588 million to fast-track elective surgeries across the state.
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said the funding would allow public patients to be treated in private hospitals across the state, and that public hospitals were increasing surgery capacity.
He said NSW Health would host a roundtable with public and private health sectors and clinicians within the next month to determine the best way to quickly and appropriately deliver elective surgeries and other procedures.