Coronavirus: Peterborough and area hospitals to begin ramping up non-urgent care

Hospitals in central Ontario will resume non-urgent surgeries, tests and procedures in early June. File / Pixabay

Five regional hospitals in central Ontario have received formal approval to launch a regional plan to resume non-urgent surgeries, procedures and tests amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospitals — Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg, Campbellford Memorial Hospital and Haliburton Highlands Health Services — made the joint announcement on Friday morning, citing approval from Ontario Health.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Peterborough Regional Health Centre aims to resume non-urgent care in early June

The hospitals say they will implement a staged plan beginning in early June that will allow each hospital to increase and decrease the amount of non-urgent care provided depending on circumstances, in particular with cases of coronavirus.

On March 19, under the province’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, all acute care hospitals were ordered to ramp down elective surgeries and non-urgent services to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

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READ MORE: Ontario asking hospitals to ramp down elective surgeries in preparation for COVID-19

All non-urgent care will resume at each hospital in a gradual, phased manner.

“We are looking forward to gradually and carefully ramping up elective care at PRHC in collaboration with our hospital partners in the region,” said Dr. Lynn Mikula, PRHC’s VP, chief of staff and chief medical executive.

“I want to thank the people of our community for their continued understanding, patience and support as we work to meet the needs of our patients while ensuring we have key measures in place to deal with any changes in COVID-19 activity.”

A key part of the phase-in includes monitoring coronavirus activity in the community and region and ensuring adequate patient capacity in case of a pandemic surge. Hospitals must also ensure there are adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

“We appreciate that this time has been difficult for patients awaiting surgeries and other procedures, and we’re looking forward to gradually and thoughtfully resuming these services,” stated Kelly Isfan, Ross Memorial’s president and CEO. “We remain committed to the safety of our patients and team, and will continually assess our resources and capacity, to ensure we can meet the needs of community members awaiting their previously postponed procedures, and handle any potential increase in patients with COVID-19 who require our care.”

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Click to play video 'Hospitals prepare to reintroduce elective surgeries' Hospitals prepare to reintroduce elective surgeries
Hospitals prepare to reintroduce elective surgeries – May 15, 2020

The hospitals note some patients will need to be prioritized while others will continue to wait, depending on the surgery, procedure or test.

“We recognize the impact the pandemic has had on patients waiting for elective procedures, and we thank everyone for their continued understanding, patience and support as we work through these unprecedented times,” stated Linda Davis, Northumberland Hills Hospital president and CEO.

“We are very pleased to now meet the conditions established by the province to begin resuming elective care at NHH.”

“It is essential, however, that we do this gradually, using a measured and staged approach, while maintaining the flexibility to reduce services as quickly as possible should we need to support a sudden increase of COVID-19 cases in our community. Our team will monitor any change in local COVID-19 cases, as well as the capacity of our community partners, such as home and community care, and continue with virtual service offerings where appropriate until all elective NHH services can be brought back to their full capacity. These details will follow as plans are finalized.”

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READ MORE: COVID-19 pandemic to affect nearly 400,000 elective surgeries across Canada by mid-June: study

The hospitals advise patients to continue to communicate with their physician’s office while they wait for their medical care to be rescheduled.