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Niagara Health surgical program temporarily ramping down to 70% capacity

Posted Apr 25th, 2022

Patients who are impacted will be contacted by their surgical team.

We are experiencing growing pressures with patient volumes and staff and physician illness, resulting in the need to adjust our operations to ensure we can provide emergency, critical and acute care to our patients using the resources available to us.

Today, our surgical program needs to temporarily ramp down to 70% capacity. This measure will allow Niagara Health to use these beds to care for COVID-19 positive patients and other patients with urgent needs.

“We will use the same decision-making framework that we have used in previous waves to assess each case, understanding that emergency, urgent and oncology patient surgeries will take priority,” says Linda Boich, Executive Vice President, Quality, and Mental Health and Addictions and Executive Lead for Integrated Care. “Surgeons and the scheduling office will reach out directly to patients who are impacted by surgical postponements to rebook the procedures at the earliest opportunity. We recognize the challenges this places on patients and families and apologize for the inconvenience and stress this may cause.”

Niagara Health has been working to catch up on our surgical backlog created during earlier waves. It is very unfortunate that we must ramp down surgeries again, knowing how important it is for patients to receive safe, quality surgical care on a timely basis. However, the ramp down is a necessary measure given the urgent need to address the current and anticipated pressures from this sixth wave.

This is part of a stepped approach to respond to capacity and staffing pressures and ensure we are prepared for heightened activity in the coming weeks.

“We are not yet seeing peak activity related to this wave in the hospital,” says Dr. Johan Viljoen, Chief of Staff. “Hospitals across our region and beyond are facing similar pressures, which have led to the postponement of non-emergency procedures and temporary closures of Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres. Our leaders are continuously evaluating our resources and recommending further actions as required. It is important that we support our team members who are impacted by COVID-19, either by illness or their extraordinary efforts to support operations.”

Given the heightened pressures on our Emergency Departments, we ask that patients consider their healthcare options before visiting the hospital for non-emergency concerns. In non-emergency situations, we encourage patients to reach out to their primary care provider first or make an appointment with our Virtual Urgent Care (

Niagara Health System