May 07, 2020

By Christine Ross

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Ontario is laying the groundwork for scheduled surgeries to resume as the spread of COVID-19 slows. But Premier Doug Ford says there’s no timeline for when these procedures will resume as hospitals need to reserve 15 percent of beds for COVID-19 patients and meet a number of other criteria. But Health Minister Christine Elliott says some urgent surgeries have been going ahead. “We still have procedures that are happening in our hospitals because some people are in situations where  their life is at stake, so of course those surgeries would continue,” said Elliott. “But we know that there are tens of thousands of other surgeries that have been postponed and we want to start moving as quickly as possible,” added Elliott.

Meantime in British Columbia, the waiting list for surgeries has grown to 93,000 with one-third of those added during the shutdown. The B.C. government says it’ll take 17 to 24 months to clear a backlog of 30,000 patients and that’s only if there’s not a resurgence of the pandemic. The government also says an additional 24,000 surgical cases weren’t even added to the waiting list since the shutdown and it’ll be impossible to catch up without significant changes to the healthcare system.

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