April 3, 2020
A message to our community
It is important that our community trusts that both London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) are safe places to receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients should feel confident in the safety and quality of care provided to them, as well as be assured that our organizations are providing staff, physicians, and patients with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep everyone safe.
It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has created substantial demands for PPE. The worldwide nature of this public health emergency is causing significant strain on the global supply chain. Due to these worldwide production and logistics disruptions, LHSC and St. Joseph’s have regularly communicated with our staff and physicians about the need for appropriate stewardship of PPE, to reduce inappropriate use and conserve supply. These efforts have always been designed to ensure appropriate levels of PPE will remain available to meet the current and future needs of our staff, physicians and patients.
For those who are not familiar, conservation measures are not meant to prevent health-care workers from accessing the PPE they need to be safe. Rather, they are designed to ensure the appropriate PPE is used to safely perform a patient care task while allowing hospitals to maximize the length of time the current supply levels will support patient and provider needs. While we are asking our care providers to be responsible with PPE use, contrary to what has been publicly stated by some, we are not asking people to go without and we will not have staff or physicians working without proper PPE.
The figures related to regional and local PPE supply on-hand that were recently made public are only a snapshot of what, in reality, is a complex and rapidly changing supply chain. While a limited number of days-on-hand supply may seem concerning, it does not mean the hospitals will actually run out of stock at that time, but rather indicates an area of concern for our procurement partners. There are supply pipelines and fail-safes in place to ensure that all Ontario hospitals are able to access PPE. LHSC and St. Joseph’s actively participate at both the regional allocation table and the provincial allocation task force, both of which use daily supply data to ensure safe and equitable PPE distribution based on immediate need across the province. All hospitals across Ontario, will continue to receive PPE supplies through these allocation channels as we collectively respond as a system to this unprecedented public health emergency.
We know that LHSC and St. Joseph’s will continue to operate with a degree of uncertainty in the global supply chain and we understand the anxiety that can cause for individuals. We want to reassure the communities we serve that we are continuing to review our situation daily and make decisions that are based on new emerging data, provincial directives and guidelines, supply chain information and the best advice of our Infection Prevention and Control medical experts. We remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to protecting our staff, physicians, and patients.
Neil Johnson, Acting President and CEO, London Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, President and CEO, St. Joseph’s Health Care London