Interior Health (IH) will resume elective surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19 on May 19.
“While the pandemic continues to evolve, IH is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to safely resume elective surgeries to support access for patients, both on waitlists and yet to be added. Throughout the resumption of services, our priority is to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” according to an IH news release.
IH is calling patients to confirm their health status and if they are able and willing to move forward with surgery. Those who choose to postpone their surgery won’t lose their spot on the waitlist, according to IH.
“In an effort to support as many people as possible, Interior Health will also maximize our ability to provide minor procedures that do not require an operating room, as well as day surgeries that do not require overnight stays in hospital.”
Urgent, emergent, and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause in surgery and will continue as priority cases.
To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 protective measures will be in place including use of a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery when possible, screening tools, assessment 24-72 hours prior to surgery and on the day of surgery and surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and disinfection measures.
Patients will be rescheduled based on priority, according to IH.
Between March 17 and April 2, 11,276 scheduled surgical procedures were cancelled due to the onset of COVID-19 cases in B.C.
Of that total, “1,208 are hip and knee replacements, 240 are dental surgeries, which are essential surgeries if they’re required in an acute care setting, and 7,801 are other surgeries,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
– With files from Tom Fletcher