Collingwood hospital resumes surgeries to clear massive backlog

Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH) joins other hospitals across Simcoe Muskoka that are slowly resuming elective surgeries following a six-week pause on non-emergent procedures.

For Carol Dorey, the call to book her surgery can't come soon enough.

"I can't even do everyday stuff like make banana bread or cook because my hand gives out," she said of the pain in her wrist that has plagued her for years.

Dorey was scheduled to have surgery for carpal tunnel, but it was cancelled when the province directed hospitals across Ontario to pause surgeries to make room for the growing number of COVID-19 patients.

"It sucks. I was hoping to have it done and over with before summer," Dorey added.

In Collingwood, outpatient and day surgeries have started back up.

"Patients can't stay overnight," said the hospital CEO, Norah Holder. "We need to keep some beds open just in case we are required to deal with patients with COVID needs."

Holder said they are waiting on the province's green light to resume inpatient surgeries.

Dr. Michael Lisi said it could take up to eight months to clear the surgical backlog after roughly 500 procedures were cancelled.

"We also have to think about the patient backlog that exists from the previous two waves, so we are looking at an extended period of time before we can get back to where we were pre-COVID levels," CGMH's chief of staff said.

Meanwhile, Ontario's fiscal watchdog said it would take the province about three and a half years to clear the surgical backlog from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With files from The Canadian Press