A London alliance of primary care doctors says up to 60 patients from the Toronto area are expected to be transferred to the Windsor and Chatham area this week to help with the crush of patients from the third COVID-19 wave in the GTA
But both Windsor area hospitals, Windsor Regional Hospital and Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, have told CBC News the memo from the London Middlesex Primary Care Alliance is inaccurate, saying they have asked the authors to correct it.
The internal memo by the Alliance says that the Windsor/Chatham/Sarnia region (known as the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network) can expect 60 of 100 patients being transferred from Trillium Health Care in Toronto. The other 40 are heading to the London area.There are currently five patients in WRH transferred from the Greater Toronto Area with three in the ICU.
There are four hospitals in the Erie-St.Clair LHIN.
In a statement to CBC, Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare says at the moment,the four hospitals are collectively being asked to take 14 ward/medical patients a week, and to independently take ICU patients "as demand increases."
Windsor regional tweeted out a similar statement that also said the number mentioned in the memo was inaccurate.
The Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network declined to comment.
The memo says the condition of patients coming to Windsor area will vary from having COVID-19 to not having the virus and also differ in severity of care.
The memo says many will have to be accommodated in hospitals in the region.
Impact of redeployment
The possible redeployment of London's primary care physicians is brought up in the memo and while there is not a present request to redeploy family physicians, the memo notes "we are in a day-to-day situation and the landscape could change rapidly. Thus we are asking for 'all hands on deck to be on deck.'"
Dr. Jessica Summerfield is the president of the Essex County Medical Society and says there has not been mention of redeploying primary care physicians to other locations.
"We haven't yet been asked about redeployment other locations but we are certainly accepting patients, mostly from the GTA area to try and help out with the resources that we have locally."
Asked about difficulties of bringing primary care physicians into the ICU, Summerfield says it depends on experience and background of the physician.
"I mean that's total opposite ends of the spectrum in the field of medicine, but someone like myself, I work as a primary care physician, but I also work as a hospitalist, and we work in patient medicine as well. That's much more transferable."
Summerfield said there are 959 physicians in Windsor-Essex comprised of family practice and specialty-based doctors.