Improvements in Kingston’s surgical care: medical director says solutions in the works

Despite long wait times for surgical procedures with Kingston Health Sciences Centre, and reports of staff shortages and strain in the health care system in hospitals across the province, a medical director of perioperative services, Dr. Romy Nitsch, is optimistic that things are improving for those needing care.

“Our staffing was challenged in the surgical program at KHSC prior to the pandemic, the pandemic further challenged that…As we noticed it coming, we invested significant time and finances into training, orientation and retention. So our staffing situation in the surgical program is actually looking very good right now,” says Nitsch.

Nitsch says the wait list for procedures has grown due to Ontario Health mandating several time periods for procedure-based specialties.

“During the pandemic, we were only able to address urgent time-sensitive procedures like cancer, traumas, cardiac procedures, so many quality of life procedures got put on hold…orthopedic joint surgeries, gynaecological procedures have experienced significant growth in wait lists,” says Nitsch.

According to Nitsch, thousands of patients are currently sitting on the waitlist. However, she says there are solutions in the works to address the volume of patients.

“We need to think of the future of surgical planning in an innovative and collaborative approach…We’re going to be increasing rooms at our ambulatory surgical center…we’ve opened new surgical units to help us handle overflow of patients…improved processes to get patients home in a better position faster…innovative technologies to improve procedure time and length of stay. We’re also looking at off-site surgical centers…It’s really looking at any and all possibilities.”

Listen to the full CFRC interview with Dr. Romy Nitsch below: