Humber River Hospital ramping down surgeries and services to prepare for the increased COVID-19 need

By Vanessa Lambe

Monday, April 26, 2021 – Toronto, Ontario – In line with the directive from Ontario Health, the GTA hospitals began a planned approach to postpone some non-urgent surgeries and services. On Monday, April 12, 2021, the hospital reduced its procedural services in the operating rooms and endoscopy to urgent-emergent care. Surgeries postponed will be selected on a set of clear criteria based on an ethical framework to carefully consider the health-care needs of patients while maintaining their safety. Hospitals are always here to care for patients and are working together to find solutions to protect the safety of our patients and staff while continuing to provide excellent care. Of course, patients throughout the region will continue to receive urgent and emergency surgeries and care.

With the rising cases of COVID-19 in our community, Humber River Hospital is taking further action to preserve critical care and human resource capacity. Humber River Hospital has moved to the next stage in its pandemic surge plan and has further ramped down surgeries and services to prepare for the increased COVID-19 needs in North Western Toronto. This will make more staff available – including nurses and other staff – for other urgent priorities.

Effective Monday, April 26, 2021, the hospital will begin ramping down Ambulatory Care clinics. Staff from these areas have moved to ICU, satellite ICU, and Medicine in-patient units.

This is not an easy decision to make. We know this is frustrating for all the patients this decision impacts. Staff will notify patients impacted by this as soon as possible, and ensure that they have all the information they need regarding their care. Please know we are not making these difficult decisions lightly and will let you know when your appointments are able to be rescheduled as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

Our ICU is seeing a high volume of COVID-19 patients at the moment, and we continue to surge into our satellite ICU. Our Emergency Department is seeing an increased number of high acuity patients and a lot of patients requiring isolation. Provincial projections indicate there is more to come.

This is a time of rapid change and adjustment as we try to maintain as many services as possible while admitting more COVID admissions and some patients from the GTA. Staff are really stepping up to the challenge – moving into new and unfamiliar jobs with strength, compassion, and professionalism.

It’s been a long year and has affected every single person in many different ways, especially our healthcare workers who have been maintaining the frontline and caring for the people in our community for over a year. Your support is needed now more than ever: by following the guidelines and staying home when you can, you are ensuring everyone on the frontline – including other essential workers like paramedics, bus drivers, and grocery store clerks – are safe while they do their jobs. If you qualify for the vaccine, you can go to our Vaccination Clinic at Downsview Arena.

We thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.