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London Health Sciences Centre to increase critical care capacity


For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2021

LONDON, Ontario – At the request of the Ontario Critical Care COVID-19 Command Table and with the approval of Ontario Health West, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) will again increase its current enhanced critical care capacity with plans to open up to seven (7) additional critical care beds. This is another important way that LHSC is helping to further support the extraordinary demand anticipated within the broader health-care system over the coming weeks.

These planned potential beds are in addition to the 18 critical care beds LHSC has already opened at University and Victoria Hospitals. The new beds will be opened only as they are needed. Four of the seven beds would be added to the existing temporary critical care space at Victoria Hospital that is already in use. The remaining three beds would be opened in the Children’s Hospital Paediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) to accommodate adult patients who require critical care that is unrelated to COVID-19.

“The situation in Ontario is evolving, which demands that we plan for all potential scenarios to ensure we have the capacity to respond if the need materializes,” says Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor (PT, PhD), Interim President and CEO at LHSC and Children’s Hospital. “We have been very thorough in our approach to considering how we can best leverage our internal resources to both add capacity to the system’s pandemic response as well as ensure we preserve the ability to meet the non-COVID-19 critical care and trauma needs of our community. As we make these planning decisions, the safety of our patients, staff, and physicians remains our core principle.”

While occupancy has been consistently low in the PCCU throughout this third wave, protocols and processes are being developed to ensure that if at any point these beds are required for children, critical care adults would be decanted appropriately and safely.

In addition to increasing critical care capacity, effective Monday, April 26 and until further notice, LHSC will be further reducing the amount of scheduled surgical and procedural activities at LHSC in compliance with the updated Directive #2 from the Ministry of Health.

Emergent and urgent cases are currently being defined as patients who need to be seen within 30 days. As with the previous surgical reductions, cancer, cardiac, vascular, trauma, transplant, and neurosurgery cases will be prioritized. 

We recognize these reductions in service are challenging for our patients and families. Any patient whose appointment or procedure is impacted by these reductions will receive direct communication from their care team prior to their scheduled visit.

Despite these temporary changes to our services, our hospitals are safe and our emergency departments remain open. If you need emergency care, please do not delay coming to the hospital. 

Note: Dr. Adam Dukelow, Chief Medical Officer and Carol Young-Ritchie, Executive Vice President, Interim Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Nursing Executive are available for joint virtual interviews today, April 23, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. Please contact Mandy Gelinas to arrange an interview time. 

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 146 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.  

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For media inquiries contact:                            
Mandy Gelinas
Corporate Communications and Public Relations 
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 75157

Due to the seriousness of the COVID-19 situation and in adherence with our current visitor policy, we are unable to permit in-person interviews or on-site access inside our facilities at this time.