Elective surgeries will resume in Interior Health as of Tuesday, May 19th, after the surgeries and procedures were previously postponed due to COVID-19.
Working with the Ministry of Health, Interior Health said they will look to safely resume elective surgeries and support access for patients that are currently on waitlists or waiting to be added. They said minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission also remains a top priority.
“From March 16th to May 10th, about 3,000 people in Interior Health had their elective surgeries postponed,” said Susan Brown, CEO of Interior Health. “We know it will take some time to get back to where we were prior to March and we really will do everything we can to address those that are living with pain as they wait on their surgeries.”
At this time, Interior Health is calling all patients that had their surgeries postponed. The health authority is looking for patients to confirm their health status and to inform them if they would be willing to move forward with surgery.
“I appreciate that some people may choose not to proceed with surgery at this time and they will keep their spot on the waitlist if that is their choice.”
Wanting to maximize their efficiency, minor procedures that do not require an operating room and day surgeries that don’t require an overnight stay will look to move forward. However, all patients will be rescheduled by priority.
Interior Health noted that urgent, emergent, and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause in surgery and will continue as priority cases.
In an effort to minimize COVID-19 transmission for all parties, Interior Health is implementing several measures:
- When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery
- Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used
- Patients will be assessed 24 to 72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery
- Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures
The health authority said their plan remains dependent on an ongoing supply of personal protective equipment, monitoring of COVID-19, and a full commitment to their various partners.