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LHSC gradually expands clinical services during the COVID-19 pandemic


For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2020

(LONDON, Ontario) –London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is moving forward with an initial plan to gradually and carefully expand some clinical services that were paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the recent amendment to the Ministry of Health’s Directive #2 and regional approval of the hospital’s plan by Ontario Health West and support from the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

Planned surgeries, procedures and related ambulatory care for patients at LHSC are slowly resuming, with prioritization based on clinical evidence and need.

“LHSC has been working with our regional partners to keep safety at the heart of our developing strategy to gradually and safely expand clinical services,” says Neil Johnson, LHSC’s EVP, Chief Operating Officer. “The expansion of hospital services is being carefully considered and balanced with the need to maintain capacity in the event of any surge in COVID-19 cases.”

Patients will be notified of opportunities to reschedule procedures and other appointments, including those who are waiting for surgeries. They will hear directly from their physician’s office when their care can be rescheduled.

“When they visit, patients and families will have a different experience than they might anticipate,” explains Dr. Adam Dukelow, LHSC’s Chief Medical Officer. “This includes screening at our doors, physical distancing measures, visitor policies, and changes to some of our processes as we strive to keep everyone safe.”

As the health-care system faces the challenges of COVID-19, LHSC has found new and innovative ways to deliver care. Thousands of patients are now accessing remote and virtual care visits every week. Moving forward, in-person hospital visits can be reduced helping to further curb the spread of the virus.

“It is important that we strike a balance between slowly expanding scheduled care and continuing to be ready for whatever COVID-19 might throw our way,” says Johnson.

LHSC will regularly review the expansion plan and work to resume additional services when it is safe to do so. “We recognize how difficult this waiting period can be for patients and families,” adds Dr. Dukelow.

LHSC encourages the community to remain diligent in following the public health recommendations and slowing the spread of the virus. All efforts to “flatten the curve” help ensure that hospitals have the capacity to respond to any future COVID-19 surges.

Interviews with Neil Johnson and Dr. Adam Dukelow are available today from 11am to 12pm and 1pm to 2pm.

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 145 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 70 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

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For media inquiries contact:

Laura Goncalves
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 64059

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Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communicator on-call

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