Victorians will have to wait longer for hip and knee surgery after some elective surgeries were put on hold amid the state's COVID-19 crisis.
All category three elective surgery will be put on hold at metropolitan Melbourne health services to ensure there are enough spare beds and staff to handle the pandemic, the state government announced on Thursday.
Elective surgery will also be reduced to no more than 50 per cent of usual activity across all public hospitals and 75 per cent in private hospitals.
Private hospitals can take on public category one and urgent category two surgeries to free up capacity across the hospital system.
"This will meant that private hospitals will be able to assist us with undertaking urgent surgery," Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
"But we are creating more capacity in the system to deal with more patients. We hope this additional capacity will never be needed."
Capacity in public hospital was planned to be boosted to 100 per cent by the end of the month, before the government rolled back this move.
Ms Mikakos said the health sector had not stopped preparing since the start of the pandemic, even when cases dropped.
"We have created more ICU capacity, more beds in our hospital system, and we have undertaken extensive training of our staff," Ms Mikakos said.
"Our health system, our hospitals, are well prepared to respond to this second wave of coronavirus cases."
More than 86 million gloves, 34 million surgical masks, 1.4 million N95 masks and 2.2 million face shields are available in Victoria for distribution to health services.
In excess of 1200 ventilators are already in Victorian health services, while thousands more are on order along with IV pumps and patient monitors.
Earlier this year, the state government announced $1.9 billion for more intensive care beds across the state to tackle the pandemic.
More than 1000 spaces for intensive care and critical care beds have been created or upgraded, and extra equipment has been ordered too.