All non-urgent surgical cases at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre and other Ontario hospitals have been cancelled since mid-March in response to an order from the Minister of Health to ramp down elective surgeries and other non-emergency clinical activities because of COVID-19.
Chief of Staff Dr. Jeff Tyberg said that has meant 1,000 cancelled surgeries at RVH.
The hospital has 11 operating rooms and Tyberg said cancer surgeries are still taking place, as well as surgeries to treat broken bones. Heart procedures have also been ramped down except for emergencies. What isn’t happening is knee and hip replacements, cataract surgeries or treatment of hernia’s, as an example.
Until the Ministry of Health gives the green light to resume non-emergency surgeries, everything will remain on hold. How the hospital will clear the backlog once surgeries can resume is being discussed but there are no final plans.
Tyberg said options to consider include expanding capacity such as longer hours or opening more operating rooms. He said there may also be budget implications that have to be looked at. Even before COVID-19, the hospital had issues around surgical challenges and capacity.
The Chief of Staff said RVH has diligent infectious and control procedures in place for the protection of staff and patients.
“It is unfortunate and a tragic situation in the world, in the province and locally. Right now, we are doing what it takes to support the community, flatten the curve and assist long-term care homes.
Tyberg stressed that people’s conditions do change and health care is not static and stable. He said anyone who has been forced to wait for surgery and has a change in their condition should contact their primary care provider or go to the emergency department.
Tyberg said what everyone is doing now is pulling together as a community.