Manitoba

Some surgeries to be cancelled at St. Boniface Hospital after influx of flu patients

"Postponing non-emergency surgeries allows us to increase the number of temporary beds in our hospital and take preventative steps to reduce the impact of the flu," a spokesperson for the Winnipeg hospital said Friday.

Hospital says patients will be contacted directly, possibly rescheduled at other facilities

St. Boniface Hospital will begin cancelling non-urgent and elective surgeries starting on Monday because of the high volume of flu patients. (CBC)

Winnipeg's St. Boniface Hospital will begin postponing some non-urgent and elective surgeries that require hospitalization starting on Monday, the latest issue to arise from a post-Christmas spike in flu cases.

The hospital says high numbers of emergency room visits and intensive care requests related to the flu are the reason for the decision.

"Postponing non-emergency surgeries allows us to increase the number of temporary beds in our hospital and take preventative steps to reduce the impact of the flu," said Micheline St-Hilaire, a spokesperson for St. Boniface Hospital.

"This decision is being made to ensure that we are able to provide safe and timely care to patients in immediate need of assistance during this flu season."

Hospital staff will contact patients directly to advise them if their surgery is postponed.

Surgeries for cancer, emergency issues and elective heart surgeries will continue to be performed.

Patients with cancelled surgeries will be contacted directly. (CBC)

A release from the hospital says it will work with other health-care facilities to avoid postponing surgeries and, when possible, they will be rescheduled at alternate sites. 

The hospital did not say how long the cancellations would last or how many patients might be affected.

Last week, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said an increase in patients in emergency, urgent care and critical care departments led it to activate overcapacity protocols, and the authority's regional flu plan in its hospitals.

The WRHA says rates of influenza A, influenza B and respiratory syncytial virus all spiked at the same time just after Boxing Day.

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