After two months of having four operating rooms in South Island hospitals closed due to a lack of specialized nurses, two have reopened.
Island Health closed four operating rooms on Sept. 5, delaying surgeries for 160 patients. The operating rooms were set to reopen on Oct. 27, but two will remain shut.
The health authority says all the patients whose surgeries were postponed have been rescheduled.
On Oct. 30, two operating rooms reopened, one at Victoria General Hospital, and the other at Royal Jubilee Hospital. This means all 10 of Victoria General Hospital’s operating rooms are operating, as it only had one closed, while two of Royal Jubilee’s 12 remain closed.
According to Island Health, with these two ORs reopening, approximately 75 more operations will be completed in November, with an additional 15 days of operating room time having been added.
The health authority says it is working to reopen the remaining two ORs as quickly as possible.
During the closures, the health authority says it has worked to return operating rooms to full capacity including hiring nine new RNs with 11 more in the hiring process, working with five additional casual RNs to support vacant shifts, and increasing access at the South Island Surgical Centre.
“We know that short notice postponements of medical procedures have a negative impact on patients and their families,” Island Health said in a notice. “We want patients to have certainty that when they have a procedure scheduled, it will take place as planned. We are committed to ensuring that people who have their surgery postponed will be rescheduled as soon as possible.”
CHEK News asked Island Health if there were additional surgeries rescheduled beyond the intial 160, and if the 11 RNs in the hiring process would be sufficient to reopen the remaining ORs but Island Health did not answer these questions.