Over 170 surgery patients on wait list in Wellington County

Hospitals dealing with backlog caused by pandemic

WELLINGTON COUNTY – There are more than 15,000 patients in Waterloo Region, Guelph and Wellington County waiting on surgeries or procedures that have been postponed due to the pandemic.

Fortunately, the three hospitals in the county are faring better than the rest.

In its joint release on Feb. 8, the Waterloo Wellington COVID report indicates, 15,937 patients are currently waiting for surgeries or procedures and about 56 per cent of those are awaiting cataract surgery.

The breakdown:

  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital has a backlog of 1,922; 1,337 are cataract day surgery patients;
  • Grand River Hospital has a backlog of 2,254 patients;
  • Groves Memorial Community Hospital has a 176-patient backlog;
  • Guelph General Hospital: 4,095-patient backlog; 2,400 are cataract patients;
  • Mary’s General Hospital: 7,490-patient backlog; 5,286 are cataract patients.

Angela Stanley, President and CEO of Groves Memorial Community Hospital and North Wellington Health Care, which includes Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest and Palmerston and District Hospital, said in an email that the surgical ramp down of all non-urgent/emergent surgeries and procedures in December meant the three county hospitals had to reduce surgical services by 50%.

“It is difficult to provide an accurate number of how many patients this impacts as the surgeon offices manage their own waitlists,” Stanley said, adding that prior to the pandemic the waitlists were “very low.”

None of the three hospitals offer cataract surgery, but Stanley said other services that were ramped down, began ramping up earlier this month.

“We were able to resume diagnostic procedures (CT, ultrasound, x-ray and mammography) and ambulatory clinics (diabetes education, respiratory, physio etc.) last week,” Stanley stated on Feb. 10.

“The wait lists for each of these services varies. We do know we will be able to clear these backlogs fairly quickly.”

Stanley said the hospitals continue to provide emergency and urgent care surgeries and procedures and are responding collectively with the other hospitals in the region on addressing the backlog.

“We understand how anxious people are feeling in having to wait,” Stanley said.

“Our staff and physicians are working hard to do their part to respond to the demands on the entire provincial health care system.

“The resumption of services will be a gradual Ontario-wide approach and we will continue to do what we can to help support and manage the waitlists.”