Facing a surge in capacity and the triple-threat of viruses hitting kids particularly hard, the largest children’s hospital in southwestern Ontario is scaling back the number of surgeries being performed.

Officials at Children’s Hospital at the London Health Sciences Centre say occupancy levels right now exceed those at the height of the pandemic, and daily ER visits come with a six-to-eight hour average wait.

Along with reducing surgical activity, the hospital is also using more paediatric ambulatory clinic spaces to relieve pressure on the Children’s Hospital emergency department, setting up a virtual urgent care clinic, and extending inpatient capacity by 117 per cent.

“This is an extremely difficult decision and one that I wish we didn’t have to make,” said Nash Syed, President of Children’s Hospital. “The decision to reduce surgical activity is necessary to ensure our teams are able to meet critical care and emergency needs. To the parents and family members of paediatric patients, I want to assure you that our health care teams will do everything they can to reschedule surgeries in a timely manner.”

Staff will be contacting families whose scheduled procedures will be affected.