Starting Tuesday, instead of two operating theatres, the Lloydminster Hospital will run with one operating room as elective procedures slow down across Saskatchewan.

This follows Friday’s announcement from the SHA that staff would be shifted to support hospital capacity in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.

Co-lead of Surgery in the NW region Dr. Joan Wheat-Hozack explains that as surgical services are staggered across the province this will affect elective procedures in Lloydminster.

“Instead of running our usual list of two operating theatres each day, we are going to go down to just one room and the cases we will be doing in that one room will only be urgent cases. So cancer cases and things that are time sensitive.”

Wheat-Hozack detailed some of the elective procedures that will be affected.

“We will be delaying and postponing, at the moment kind of indefinitely, anything that’s not truly urgent; our hip and knee replacements and lots of our other orthopedic surgeries, because they don’t tend to be urgent and will give us at least enough staff and beds to keep going with the urgent things.”

While things like colonoscopies and endoscopic procedures will be affected by the slowdown on Tuesday, Wheat-Hozack also confirmed that gastro-intestinal electives will join the list of urgent only, by Thursday. She echoed the SHA admonition that if someone needs to come to the hospital, then come to the hospital, especially if they have a broken bone or acute abdominal pain.

Wheat-Hozack asked for residents to be patient as the hospital administration will do their best to have procedures re-booked.

“We know that having delayed surgeries is not ideal and we will certainly do our best to get them booked again and the necessary surgeries done as soon as we possibly can. I would encourage all people in Saskatchewan and Alberta who are eligible to please consider being vaccinated, as that will down the road certainly help us to get back on track.”