With word last week from, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore that the COVID-19 pandemic has moved out of a “crisis phase” to something requiring long-term management, hospitals in the area are trying to aggress the surgical backlog.
To that end, St. Joe’s has utilized the province’s Surgical Innovation Fund to revamp four dormant operating rooms. The $2.7 million funding provided both renovation of the space and purchase of equipment. St. Joe’s is working with hospitals across the HNHBB region to address a regional backlog of surgeries, where the operating room will be staffed and supported by St. Joe’s Perioperative team while surgeons will include St. Joe’s physicians and those from other hospitals to address the backlog in other regional hospitals. The plan is to limit these operating rooms to day surgeries as much as possible to reduce impact on the rest of the hospital. The operating rooms are coming online slowly through September with St. Joe’s patients, with plans for our regional partners to join later in September.
In a memo to the St. Joes community CEO Melissa Farrell says the hospital has hired additional perioperative staff, and says bringing the new operating rooms online will proceed slowly as staff are hired. Farrell reports 238 vacancies at St Joes—mostly nurses.