Walking through the surgical suites at the General campus, Dr. Michael Chapman compares the operating rooms to an old car.
“We’ve changed the tires, we’ve changed the chassis, and we’ve even put in air conditioning. But our four cylinder is having trouble keeping up with the 12 cylinders. If we had a 12-cylinder car, we would continue to lead,” he says.
Recently, the Corporate Chief of Surgery shared his analogy with Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews while taking her on a tour of the ORs. He, and Patient Care Director of Surgery, Nurallah Rahim, pointed out the inefficiencies, the challenges and the hospital’s vision for a modern surgical pavilion that would better serve our community.
The hospital is about to formally ask the province to approve and support TSH’s need for a significant redevelopment of the existing surgical suites, sterile processing department, pharmacy, laboratory and necessary supporting infrastructure at the General campus.
Lack Of Space
“We do wonderful work in the operating rooms but the ORs are 1956 vintage and they are at end of life,” explains Dr. Chapman, while showing Minister Matthews cramped operating suites that are two and three times smaller than the modern operating rooms of today.
Although the current suites are small and present several challenges, Dr. Chapman says patient care remains the priority and the hospital’s skilled surgical team continues to provide excellent care.
“We are winning a Formula 1 race with a Model T Ford,” says Dr. Chapman. “Our ORs are small. It is difficult to put the latest pieces of equipment into those rooms. We certainly make it work, but we would be more efficient with a more modern space.”
Last fall, Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid announced a $3 million grant to support planning for the redevelopment that would house 16 full operating rooms and four rooms for minimally invasive procedures.
Currently, the operating suites cannot support many advances in technology due to the size of the equipment. The current design presents infection control challenges because sterile and dirty equipment must take the same path to and from the operating rooms.
In modern designs, hallways and elevators are dedicated for each.
In the last few years, The Scarborough Hospital has had three different health ministers tour the operating suites. This visit was Minister Matthews’ first tour.
“This is the first time that we are getting a sense that the health minister wants to do something. Minister Matthews seems to understand our need,” says Dr. Steve Jackson, Chief of Staff.
“This tour was different. Minister Matthews asked several good questions and showed a genuine interest. We feel something is really going to happen.”