Following clarification regarding what they are and aren’t allowed to do, Guelph General Hospital (GGH) officials have cancelled additional non-urgent procedures, including MRIs, CT scans and sleep studies.
The move follows a Jan. 4 directive to halt all non-urgent surgeries and procedures at hospitals throughout the province in preparation for an anticipated spike in COVID-19 patents due to transmission of the Omicron variant.
Clarification of what’s included in that came late last week.
“It gets complicated,” Gavin Webb, the hospital’s chief information officer, said of which procedures have been postponed. “There are some procedures that go ahead, depending on the patient. It’s very patient-specific.”
Each patient file is looked at by a physician to determine the importance of moving forward with diagnostic or treatment efforts quickly, he explained.
“Unfortunately those are the types of decisions we’re making,” Webb said. “They have a framework that they’re following in order to make those decisions.”
The provincial directive is resulting in the postponement of 45 to 55 surgeries per day at GGH, Webb stated in a follow-up email, noting the only surgeries going ahead at this time are due to cancer, possible cancer and urgent/emergent matters.
In addition, about half of the hospital’s diagnostic imaging procedures have been pushed off, with about 700 cancellations per week.
“We continue to serve all patients requiring urgent, emergent and cancer-related therapeutic and diagnostic exams and procedures,” Webb wrote. “In addition, scans are being done if a physician determines that missing a scan will result in a patient ending up in an emergency department or needing to be admitted to hospital.
“This also includes pregnancy-related imaging as well as limited cancer screening services such as mammography screening.”
GGH continues to provide chemotherapy services as well, though Webb notes patient volumes are sitting at about half what they typically are, with 20 to 30 per day.
The hospital has also “mostly” shut down its bariatric program, resulting in the cancellation of classes impacting about 500 patients.
Those cancellations are currently slated to continue until Jan. 28.