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April 7, 2003

Debbie Neufert
Media Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
April 7, 2003 - 11:45 a.m.

London Health Sciences Centre begins to reinstate some patient care services

(LONDON, Ontario) London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has announced that tomorrow it will begin to reinstate some of its surgeries, diagnostic tests such as MRI's, CT scans and ultrasounds, as well as specialized X-ray procedures. However, outpatient clinics are still limited to emergency and urgent cases only.

Over the last week, as a result of provincial directives to deal with the current SARS situation, LHSC staff has been treating emergency and urgent cases only, which represents approximately 30 per cent of normal patient volumes.

The reinstatement of some services tomorrow will boost LHSC's capacity to about 50 per cent of normal volumes for surgical, diagnostic and interventional procedures only.

LHSC will assess the impact of the reinstatement of some of its services throughout the week to determine its ability to reopen other patient care services. LHSC's role as a regional referral and trauma centre for Southwestern Ontario requires that the hospital balance the expectation for services and the operational issues necessary to comply with the provincial directives. The safety of our patients, health care workers and staff is paramount in the planning process to reinstate some of the hospital's patient care services.

It is important to reinforce to the public that they should assume that any procedure or appointment they have booked is cancelled unless they hear directly from the hospital.

All provincial directives, including visitor restrictions, continue to be in place.