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Diagnostic procedure, surgery backlog swells under Omicron: Doctors Manitoba

Click to play video: 'Surgery and diagnostic test backlog continues to grow' Surgery and diagnostic test backlog continues to grow
The association representing physicians in Manitoba is warning the province's diagnostic test and surgery backlog continues to grow. – Feb 17, 2022

The organization representing physicians across the province is warning Manitoba’s diagnostic test and surgery backlog continues to grow.

The backlog is up more than 7,700 cases since January, now totalling an estimated 161,585, Doctors Manitoba said in a Thursday news release.

Association president Dr. Kristjan Thompson says the numbers are increasing, despite three initiatives the province’s task force announced in January.

“We’re still in the throes of this fourth wave,” Thompson said at a media briefing. “It’s been quite difficult for them, and I think that’s why progress has been slow.”

Read more: Manitoba announces new surgical capacity initiatives

Omicron struck the health-care system more severely than any previous wave, Thompson said.

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“Seeing just how disruptive it’s been in terms of having to re-route staff to ICUs, to hospital wards to address staffing shortages and just the surge of volume that we’ve seen with COVID-19, it’s my understanding that this wave has been the most disruptive.”

The St. Boniface Hospital emergency physician is pleading with Manitobans to stay wary of the virus even after public health orders fade by mid-March.

“Our hospitals are still in a tenuous position. You can help take pressure off our hospitals by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Thompson said.

Doctors Manitoba estimates 53,327 surgeries, 42,524 diagnostic imaging procedures and 66,786 diagnostic procedures like endoscopies, mammograms and sleep disorder studies make up the over 161,000-case backlog.

“These aren’t numbers. These are people. These are people who are waiting in fear, in uncertainty,” Thompson said.

“We need to do everything we can to ensure that these patients get the answer they need and the treatments that they need as soon as possible.”

Doctors Manitoba says lung function tests are now included in the estimated backlog, which amounted to 8,848 as of January.

The group also changed its estimate for hip and knee surgeries to account for Manitoba Health’s corrected data on wait times. The amendment is reflected in the overall 52,327 surgeries reported this month compared to the 57,827 last month.

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Click to play video: 'Manitobans caught in surgery backlog' Manitobans caught in surgery backlog
Manitobans caught in surgery backlog – Jan 28, 2022

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