LHSC postpones non-emergent surgeries

London Health Sciences Centre - Victoria Hospital. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) says it’s delaying non-urgent surgeries to accommodate the growing number of COVID-19 patients across the province.

On Thursday, the Ontario government’s health agency told hospitals across the province to begin ramping down on care visits that are considered a priority.

Many hospitals in COVID “hot spots” are nearing or have reached capacity which has necessitated the transfer of patients between hospitals.

The LHSC announced Friday that some procedures scheduled from April 12 and on are being postponed until further notice. Any patients affected by the changes will be notified.

“We recognize these changes may cause uncertainty for our patients and their loved ones, and waiting for care can be difficult,” the release read. “All treatment decisions are being carefully reviewed by the patient’s health-care team.”

As of Friday afternoon, the LHSC is treating a total of 31 inpatients with COVID-19, 14 of which are in critical care or the ICU. There are eight active cases among staff members however, there are no active outbreaks at either Victoria Hospital or University Hospital.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s Health Care (SJHC) in London says it has not made any changes to patient services.

“We are assessing the needs in London and our region, and how our organization can respond to both the immediate and long-term needs of the regional health care system during this third wave of the pandemic,” SJHC said in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

Surgical and outpatient appointments at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute, and Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care will continue to operate as usual.

On Friday, Ontario health officials confirmed over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19. Nearly 1,500 patients are being treated in hospital. 552 people are in intensive care and 359 are on ventilators.