St. Joseph’s ramps down surgical services, readies to open beds to support health system capacity

London, Ontario – As critically ill patients continue to be transferred to London and the South West region from the hardest hit areas of Ontario, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is supporting health system capacity by rescheduling all elective (non-urgent, non-emergent) surgeries and procedures, re-deploying staff where appropriate, opening additional beds for non-COVID-19 patients who do not require acute care services, and ensuring timely transfers.

Rescheduling all elective (non-urgent, non-emergent) surgeries and procedures, which aligns with a directive from the province, will begin Monday, April 26. Patients who have urgent or emergent needs will continue to be seen. Patients whose surgery or procedure is impacted will be contacted directly. Those who are not contacted should attend their appointment as usual. Surgeries and procedures will be rescheduled when capacity in the system improves.

Throughout the pandemic, a critical role of St. Joseph’s in the region has been to provide care for patients who could be transferred from London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and elsewhere during surges of COVID-19. For the most part, these have been patients who no longer need acute level of services or are awaiting long-term care and cannot safely be sent home. As a provincial leader in rehabilitation and recovery care, St. Joseph’s has been uniquely positioned to create this bridge to enhance system-wide critical care and medicine services capacity.

For this latest wave of the pandemic, St. Joseph’s has received funding for up to 44 additional beds, which will be made available at Parkwood Institute as the need arises. Twenty-seven of these beds already exist at Parkwood Institute Main Building and have been used at various points in the pandemic. More beds will be added and staff will be redeployed from other areas of St. Joseph’s as needed to ensure safe and expert care.

All planning, including the redeployment of St. Joseph’s staff, is ongoing in collaboration with LHSC and our regional partners to ensure our health care system can accommodate needs as they arise.
“We understand this is a stressful time for our patients but we must ensure the health care system, regionally and provincially, has capacity to meet the needs of the most critically ill during this third wave of the pandemic,” says Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s. “This is a rapidly evolving situation. We continue to closely assess the needs in London and our region, and how our organization can respond.”

To help ensure patients stay connected with their care teams, virtual care options continue to be available in most programs and services across St. Joseph’s.

Up-to-date COVID-19 pandemic information for patients, families and visitors is available on our COVID Update page.

Important reminders for patients:

  • Patients whose surgery or procedure is impacted by the rescheduling of surgical services at St. Joseph’s will be contacted directly. Those who are not contacted should attend their appointment as usual.
  • Patients who are sick and need care urgently are reminded that London’s hospitals are a safe place to receive care. Those with a serious health concern should go to St. Joseph’s Urgent Care Centre, or one of LHSC’s Emergency Departments.
  • Those who think they have symptoms of COVID-19 should visit a community COVID-19 Assessment Centre for testing. If they have shortness of breath or are unable to catch their breath, they should call 911. More information is available on the Middlesex-London Health Unit website for those who think they have COVID-19.


For more information:

Dahlia Reich, Communication & Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
519 646-6100 ext. 65294, Cell 519 619-0971

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