Manitoba

Some elective surgeries in Winnipeg to be postponed for urgent, emergency procedures: Shared Health

Starting Monday, some scheduled elective procedures in Winnipeg will be postponed to ensure life-saving surgical cases are prioritized, Shared Health says, as COVID-19 infections rise in Manitoba.

Changes expected to impact 10-15 patients per day

Some elective surgeries at a number of Winnipeg facilities will be postponed or moved as Shared Health works to prioritize patients who need urgent procedures. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Starting Monday, some scheduled elective procedures in Winnipeg will be postponed to ensure life-saving surgical cases are prioritized, health officials say as COVID-19 infections rise in Manitoba.

The postponement will affect scheduled surgeries across all Winnipeg acute care surgical sites — Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital, the provincial health authority said in a Sunday night news release. 

It is expected to impact 10-15 patients a day.

"We recognize any disruption in surgical scheduling has an impact on our patients and their families and we regret that this action is necessary," said the news release from Shared Health. 

"Patients who are affected by this change will be contacted by their care team directly."

While surgical capacity is not being reduced, it is being prioritized for the most urgent cases.

Patients scheduled this week for elective procedures at any of the three hospitals or at Victoria Hospital, Concordia Hospital or the Pan Am Clinic may be contacted by their care team as surgical slates are prioritized for emergent and urgent cases.

Anyone whose surgeries are impacted will either be told their procedure is postponed or that there's a change in location.

Patients scheduled for a procedure at Misericordia Health Centre this week will not be affected.

Over the next week, patients in hospital who need emergency or urgent surgery at HSC, St. Boniface Hospital and Grace Hospital will have their cases prioritized based on the assessment of the care team.

Those waiting for surgery at home will also have their cases reviewed and may see a change to their scheduled surgery date or location, Shared Health said.

There have been roughly 152,000 surgeries and diagnostic procedures delayed because of the pandemic, according to Doctors Manitoba, which represents roughly 4,000 physicians across the province.

The changes announced Sunday will not impact staff working at the affected sites.

There is no plan at this time to reduce surgical capacity beyond the normal scheduled holiday reductions, Shared Health says.

In the midst of growing COVID-19 cases and an anticipated surge of cases linked to the highly contagious Omicron variant, Shared Health is asking Manitobans to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wear a mask when required to, and stay home when ill.

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