Opposition leaders call on province to reduce surgery backlog

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Opposition leaders call on province to fix surgery backlog
There are more calls for the Manitoba government to address the surgery backlog in the province. Global's Joe Scarpelli has more – Oct 5, 2021

Critics say there are far too many Manitobans waiting too long for surgery.

Liberal health critic Dr. Jon Gerrard says there are thousand of Manitobans waiting for procedures including many hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.

“Where is this government? They’ve should’ve had this plan now,” Gerrard said.

One area of concern he’s sees making the problem worse is the current cap which puts a limit on the number of those surgeries that can be done each year.

“We are calling on them specifically to lift the cap. At this point it saves money to get knee surgeries and hip surgeries and eye surgeries done quickly rather than delayed.”

Shared Health estimates more than 30 thousand non-urgent or elective surgeries have been put off.

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READ MORE:  Manitoba issues request for proposals to fix surgery backlog

The delays come as a COVID-19 fourth wave threatens the already fragile health care system.

NDP leader Wab Kinew blames PC cuts for the backlog. And he says the government has failed to spend the money to fix it.

“They should immediately put that money to work and expand the OR time available to surgeons, expand the investments made to nurses who work in the various surgical departments,” Kinew said. “Manitobans are suffering.”

Both a health minister spokesperson and a representative for Shared Health say the backlog in surgeries is largely due to covid-19.

They say they are working to address the issue, but that process includes having to recruit, and train more staff in these areas while also looking for innovative approaches.

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