Sudbury

Health Sciences North working on plans to reintroduce non-urgent procedures

Nearly two months after the province started ramping down elective procedures, hospitals are working on plans to gradually reintroduce non-urgent surgeries and other procedures.

The hospital has postponed nearly 4,000 non-urgent surgeries and procedures since mid-March

Ontario hospitals are working on plans to gradually re-introduce elective surgeries. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

Nearly two months after the province started ramping down elective procedures, hospitals are working on plans to gradually reintroduce non-urgent surgeries and other procedures.

Late last week, the province detailed its plan to resume surgeries that had been postponed due to the pandemic. The province did not provide dates for when surgeries are likely to restart, but said the process will be managed at the regional level.

There are a number of criteria hospitals will have to meet, including having a 30 day supply of personal protective equipment. 

Health Sciences North says it is working with other hospitals in northern Ontario to coordinate efforts. In a statement to CBC, the hospital said it is working to finalize its plans, which will be reviewed later this month.

"We will then be in a position to confirm a date when rescheduled surgeries and procedures will gradually begin at HSN."

Thousands of patients waiting for procedures   

With procedures postponed in order to make room for a surge in COVID-19 cases, as well as limit the use of personal protective equipment, thousands of Ontarians have been waiting to have their appointments rescheduled.

John Voltti of Sudbury is waiting for laser eye surgery at an ophthalmologists' office. He's had two cataract surgeries, and says his right eye is "fogging up."

"I'm coping with my eyesight, it doesn't prevent me from driving, but I'm just concerned that it's getting worse, and I'm just wondering about the ramifications towards the future," Voltti said. 

Voltti said he knows his situation is not "terribly urgent," but he said, "it is something that preys on your mind."

Voltti said he is hopeful he won't have to wait too much longer for what he said should be a simple procedure.

At Health Sciences North, officials say about 1,750 non-urgent surgeries, such as tonsillectomies, cataract and nerve repair surgeries have been postponed since March 15. That's in addition to 2,100 other minor procedures including colonoscopies and gastroscopies that have also been postponed in that time. 

With files from Markus Schwabe