BROCKVILLE – Brockville General Hospital (BGH) has been approved by the Ontario government to gradually resume scheduled (meaning elective or non-urgent) surgeries and procedures. This decision comes after the initial wave of the COVID-19 virus and the government’s implementation of Directive #2, which slowed down hospital services in March.
With the Province beginning to open up, BGH has been developing a plan, in collaboration with local and regional partners, to resume scheduled or elective surgeries and procedures.
“Working with our healthcare partners, we have built a regional plan that provides fair and equitable access to scheduled surgeries,” said Nick Vlacholias, President and CEO at BGH. “These efforts will also help balance surgery waitlists, ensure fair access to care, and resource availability.”
“At BGH, we’ve identified cataracts and cystoscopies as our first priorities because of the growing wait list for both of these procedures. These are day surgeries, we can also manage these with minimal impact on bed occupancy. This was one of the many factors Ontario Health reviewed before approving our plan.”
Before being approved to expand services, BGH had to demonstrate appropriate and sustainable levels of personal protective equipment, or PPE, and a downward trend of patients who are positive for COVID-19.
“Our community has worked incredibly hard to follow safety protocols set out by public health, like physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and self-isolating when necessary,” said Vlacholias. “I credit our community with helping to keep the number of patients with COVID-19 at BGH and across Leeds Grenville so low.”
BGH has been working with primary care and specialists’ offices to begin communicating the resumption of schedule surgeries.
One key message to patients anxiously waiting; BGH is putting safety first.
“Keeping all of our patients safe, is our most important job,” Vlacholias continued. “Every patient will be screened for COVID-19 in advance of their procedure. Patients who fail screening for COVID-19 will not proceed with non-urgent, or elective, procedures.”
“In addition, our professional, caring staff and physicians have reinforced and adapted many infection prevention and control practices to keep patients, and ourselves, safe. This is why we have not seen hospital-based transmission of COVID-19 at BGH.”
BGH, like other hospitals in Ontario, cannot resume ambulatory clinics and diagnostic exams until additional information on reopening these services is provided from the province. Likewise, if cases of COVID-19 dramatically increase and to ensure patient safety, BGH has prepared a plan to quickly ramp down services.
“As we enter this new phase of COVID-19, we ask for the public’s continued efforts to practice physical distancing, or wearing a mask if you’re unable to maintain a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Please wash your hands well and often,” said Vlacholias.
“On behalf of our staff and physicians, we appreciate what our community has done to stop the spread of COVID-19, and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this next phase together.”