The gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries at QHC hospitals
Belleville - Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and Ontario Health have given the green light for the gradual resumption of scheduled surgeries and procedures previously put on hold due to COVID-19. Quinte Health Care (QHC) hospitals will begin to slowly add back some of the deferred surgeries as we currently meet the required conditions including the necessary supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the human resources required. QHC, like all Ontario hospitals, must maintain the ability to take activity down quickly should there be a re-emergence of COVID-19 positive patients.
The ramp up will begin early next week and occur slowly over weeks and potentially many months. Individuals will be contacted directly to book a time for their procedures as services slowly resume. We are starting to book patients currently on the wait list. QHC currently has over 1500 patients awaiting surgical procedures, with approximately 875 delayed due to COVID-19.
“While QHC wants to provide care as soon as possible, the top priority is to make sure everyone – patients and staff – is safe in hospitals during this pandemic,” explains Mary Clare Egberts, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We need to strike the balance between slowly starting scheduled care and continuing to be ready for whatever COVID-19 might throw our way.”
As QHC resumes scheduled procedures, we must remain diligent in terms of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 within our hospitals and the communities we serve. A number of precautions will remain in place for those coming to the hospital for procedures, including the continued limitation of visitors. A support person will only be allowed if necessary.
Patients scheduled for a procedure can expect the following:
- Active screening before their appointment over the phone, and then again when they arrive at the hospital. If a patient screens positive, the procedure may be deferred and the patient referred to COVID-19 testing.
- Screeners will provide a non-medical mask for patients to wear while in the hospital and to transition home.
- Mandatory physical distancing precautions including plexiglass barriers and maintaining a 2-metre distance from others. Waiting areas will be set up to accommodate physical distancing.
Throughout the pandemic, QHC hospitals have been delivering urgent and emergent care, with clinicians constantly evaluating the care needs of people who are awaiting procedures, and moving individuals into the urgent and emergent categories as needed.
Weekly reviews will be conducted to ensure we can continue to meet expected criteria in terms of available resources, including PPE supply. Services may need to ramp down again on short notice if the situation with COVID changes or if there are any resource limitations.
“Throughout the pandemic, Quinte Health Care has remained in close communication and collaboration with our hospital partners in the region,” explains Dr. Colin MacPherson, Chief of Staff. “We are committed to a regional, coordinated approach and will continue to work closely with our valued partners as we slowly resume the services paused during COVID-19.”
For information about the precautions we are taking to keeping our patients safe at QHC’s four hospitals, please click here.