Grey Bruce Health Services to postpone 500 surgeries

·2 min read

Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) has postponed all non-emergency surgeries across its six hospitals as of Jan. 5.

Brought on by provincial restrictions amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases, GBHS President and CEO Gary Sims estimates that 500 procedures will be delayed by Jan. 26, when these services are expected to resume.

“We recognize that this provincial order causes stress for our patients who have been waiting for their elective procedures, and as soon as we are able, we will work to re-book these appointments,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO in a press release. “In the meantime, all urgent and emergency surgeries and procedures will be provided, 24/7 as per usual.”

Surgeries slated for postponement include cataract and dental procedures, endoscopic surveillance procedures, and some orthopedic and gynecological procedures.

Sims said that GBHS is still dealing with a backlog in non-emergency surgeries from previous restrictions.

“There has been a backlog related to previous Ministry mandates to ramp down elective surgeries, and we have not been running at full operating room capacity since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

He said that the restrictions will allow GBHS to distribute its staff to meet staffing shortages, and that surgeries will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Patients with conditions at risk of significantly deteriorating, however, will be prioritized for care.

“Our priority is to ensure that urgent surgical patients such as cancer patients, urgent bowel surgeries and any traumas get timely access to care, and to reduce the risk to patients from this latest ramp down,” Sims said. “Physicians and surgeons will be working with any patients at risk of further deterioration from delayed surgery, and those patients can be prioritized for surgery if needed.”

In addition to ramping down non-emergency surgeries, visitation for patients will be restricted to reduce traffic in GBHS hospitals.

“We are focused on keeping our workforce, and our patients as healthy as possible,” Sims said. “To reduce the volume of traffic within our hospitals, we have also scaled back our visiting policy to allow only one visitor into hospital per patient. Some exceptions apply for children, birthing moms, and those in palliative care.”

Greg McGrath-Goudie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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