BHB suspends non-emergency surgery to prepare for COVID-19 threat

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the suspension of non-urgent, elective surgery as it prepares for a potential increased number of critically ill patients with COVID-19. This will allow for surgical and operating theatre staff to be upskilled and trained in the basics of critical care management as rapidly as possible.

Emergency and urgent, including cancer, surgeries will continue.

Dr Richmond, Chief of Staff, comments: “We do not take this step lightly and apologise to elective surgery patients who will no doubt feel frustration, anxiety and upset.  We are, however, facing an unprecedented situation. As an island we do not have access to a bank of staff to just bring in to work, so we are looking to maximise the resources we have to care for the most critically ill who may come to us.

“We do not have confirmed COVID-19 cases yet in Bermuda, but we have to prepare in case they do come and in case the situation escalates quickly, as has happened elsewhere. We cannot wait to start the training. At the moment it is unknown when the worst will be over, so unfortunately I can’t provide a date when surgeries will resume. We will constantly monitor the situation, however, and re-start as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Dr Richmond, concludes: “I would add that all the preventative measures individuals can take will help the hospital and entire health system cope and save lives. We can slow down the spread by washing hands; not touching our faces; coughing and sneezing into tissues; wearing masks if we are sick; and avoiding groups, meetings, shaking hands and hugs. This will give us the opportunity to manage the demand on healthcare more effectively. If we do not act as individuals and a community, we may experience a sudden peak and the healthcare system could struggle.”


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Notes to Editors
The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda's second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world's leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at