Elective surgeries cancelled on Vancouver Island, hospitals prepare for COVID-19 cases

Watch Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that the healthcare system is moving to an "outbreak response phase". That means all non-urgent scheduled surgeries are postponed, potentially affecting thousands of British Columbians. Mary Griffin reports.

The jump in COVID-19 cases comes as the province takes sweeping measures in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said hospitals and staff are moving to prepare for an influx of patients.

“First of all, as you know, British Columbia health authorities are directed to immediately move all hospitals in the province to outbreak response phase two. This means hospitals will only undertake urgent emergency procedures and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries,” Dix said.

The minister said this will result in the cancellations of thousands of scheduled elective surgeries freeing up hundreds and hundreds of hospital beds, with hospitals prioritizing urgent patients, according to Dix.

“They are significant changes and we do not underestimate the consequences of those changes. We spend a lot of our time in the healthcare system ensuring more rapid access to surgeries and of course for all the people involved, it is is very important,” Dix said.

Saanich’s RebalanceMD clinic is home to all of the capital region’s orthopedic surgeons. CEO Dr. Stefan Fletcher says cancelling thousands of surgeries is significant.

“There will be approximately 100 patients that were having a hip or knee replacement. other surgeries, day surgeries.  So approximately about 300 elective cases that are going to be affected by this.  That are going to be postponed,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher while says it’s going to be tough telling patients they have to wait even longer for surgery, it’s the right thing to do.

“This is the absolute 100 per cent right thing to do. I mean it’s the right thing to do for our population.  It’s the right thing to do for our patients.  Nobody wants to be going into a hospital having the surgery, then ending up having to stay longer and taking up a bed, and getting unwell.  So it’s the absolute right thing to do.  We support 100% per centthe health authority, the ministry right now,”  Fletcher said.

The province established its own health-response line at 1-888-COVID19 or text 604-630-0300. Information is available in more than 1o0 languages.

We want to thank you for continuing to tune into our COVID-19 Now coverage. As we continue to report on how this pandemic is affecting Vancouver Island, we want to hear about how you are dealing with the crisis. If you are stuck overseas, have family members who are in lockdown areas, have had to cancel an event, or are impacted in any other way, please get in touch. We would also love to hear about how you are keeping busy while social distancing, and how you are staying in touch with loved ones. Please email [email protected]. If you include photos and videos, we will see if we can use them.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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