Local hospitals temporarily suspend non-urgent procedures in response to new Ontario Health directives
Joint media release from Guelph General, St. Mary’s, Cambridge and Grand River Hospitals as well as North Wellington Healthcare:
December 31, 2021 – In response to record-high COVID-19 case counts and challenges to health human resources (HHR), Ontario Health has directed all hospitals to focus on urgent and emergent procedures only.
Local hospitals will be adjusting services from January 4 to 17 providing only urgent, emergent and cancer surgical procedures for the next two weeks and maintaining Emergency Department Services, inpatient care, and essential clinics for as long as possible. Patients impacted by the changes will be contacted by the hospital or their physician’s office.
“The pandemic continues to demand that we make difficult choices and certainly the decision to temporarily suspend non-urgent surgeries for patients was not one that we wanted to make, but unfortunately necessary at this time,” says Lee Fairclough, president, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and hospital lead for regional COVID response lead. “We must be prepared for the increased need for COVID-19 care while dealing with limited staff who are also being affected by COVID-19,” says Fairclough.
Hospitals will re-evaluate the situation by January 12 working with regional partners, Ontario Health and Public Health to change and evolve as the situation unfolds. This requires everyone to remain flexible ready to respond rapidly to the challenges that COVID-19 and the Omicron variant continue to present.
Guelph Hospital will focus on providing only urgent, emergent and cancer surgical procedures for the next two weeks.
“We know this will be difficult news for patients that are waiting for their surgery, and for our own team members,” says Melissa Skinner, VP Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive at Guelph General Hospital. “As we start to see COVID-19 cases rise in the community and across our own team members, we need to take steps to ensure we can dedicate available resources to continue providing urgent care to those in need.”
“Our goal will be to ramp up quickly when it is safe to do so but for now, these changes are necessary to support both capacity and the utilization of available staff to be redeployed where required,” says Fairclough.