An advocacy group representing 4,000 doctors in the province says more than 100,000 Manitobans are waiting for surgeries and diagnostic procedures due to the delay caused by COVID-19.
Doctors Manitoba released the figures and a report Thursday, outlining how much things have backlogged in the province’s health-care system since the pandemic began.
“We estimate the backlog is over 110,000 surgical and diagnostic procedures and growing,” reads the report.
The numbers break down into 39,000 surgical procedures, 44,000 diagnostic imaging tests and 32,000 other procedures, including endoscopies, mammograms and allergy tests.
This means tens of thousands of Manitobans are dealing with pain and discomfort, and many of them are at risk of minor health problems becoming larger and more complex issues, the report says.
The report includes three recommendations, including creating a Surgery and Diagnostic Recovery Task Force, a provincial commitment to fully address the backlog by a certain date and provide funding to do so, and giving monthly updates on the progress.
Surgeries caught up a little in February and March, said Doctors Manitoba, but the third wave once again forced hospitals into stricter lockdowns.
Read the full report:
The province earlier announced $50 million in the 2021 budget to help reduce wait times and surgeries delayed due to COVID-19.
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The money is to help with the backlog of hip, knee and cataract procedures.
Pallister said the funding may not wipe out the entire backlog, but he hoped it will make a good dent.
“It’s going to help to get better care sooner to Manitobans,” the premier said March 31.
“This is a strong start, but a more comprehensive and accountable plan is needed to reassure Manitobans about when and how the backlog will be fully addressed,” Doctors Manitoba said Thursday.
“It’s shocking and reckless that fifteen months into the pandemic the government still doesn’t have a plan to address the 110,000 plus backlog for surgeries and tests, many of which are serious and life saving,” said Uzoma Asagwara, the NDP critic for healthcare.
“That’s why the PC government must act now to work with frontline healthcare staff, hire more nurses, be transparent about the data by publishing regular reports on surgery backlogs and set a date for when the backlog will be cleared.”