Wait times for hip and knee procedures on the rise in Alberta

Alberta Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman speaks with media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong.
Alberta Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman speaks with media. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong

It’s taking longer for hip and knee replacement surgeries to get done in Alberta.

A Canadian Institute for Health Information report gives a benchmark of 182 days for those procedures in 2017. Hips are getting done before that time 73 per cent of the time, while knees are beating the mark in 63 per cent of cases. That’s about a 10 per cent drop from the previous year.

Cataract surgeries are also lagging, with 56 per cent of them getting done before 112 days, a drop of about 15 per cent since 2014.

That’s well below the national average. Hip and knee operations are on par with the rest of the country, although their numbers have been on a steady decline since 2014.

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Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen she knows about the problem and is working to address it.

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“We’ve been complying with CIHI to make sure that we give all our data so that we can have appropriate comparators throughout the country. There are some (wait times) in particular, that I’m really disappointed in.”

She did point out that there were a couple of bright spots in the report.

“I know that we are leading in some other areas, including radiation, and that’s excellent, but we are investing $40 million in this budget because we want to see those other wait times reduced.”

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Radiation therapy visits hit their 28-day target in 99 per cent of cases. Hip fracture repairs are also one of the positive indicators, meeting the benchmark of 48 hours 92 per cent of the time.

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