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B.C. has lowest wait times in Canada for hip and knee replacement surgeries

Click to play video: 'B.C. completes record-breaking number of surgeries' B.C. completes record-breaking number of surgeries
B.C. health officials say more surgeries were done in the last year than any other year in history. Hospital staff have been working hard to clear the wait list of cancelled surgeries throughout the pandemic. However, as Richard Zussman reports, some are still waiting. – May 4, 2022

Those in line for a knee and hip replacement have a shorter wait time than anywhere else in Canada according to a new report published Tuesday.

But the pandemic has led to many delays due to cancelled surgeries across the country.

The Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada provides a snapshot from April to September 2021 and focused on cataracts, hip replacements, knee replacements, radiation therapy, five cancer sites, and diagnostic imaging.

According to the report, British Columbia has the lowest wait times in Canada for cataracts, hip replacement surgeries, and knee replacements.

Click to play video: 'B.C. completes record-breaking number of surgeries' B.C. completes record-breaking number of surgeries
B.C. completes record-breaking number of surgeries – May 4, 2022

There has been a 14 per cent increase in the benchmark targets for hip replacements, moving from 58 per cent hitting the benchmark to 72 per cent.

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For knee replacement surgeries, B.C. has gone from hitting the benchmark 50 per cent of the time to 68 per cent of the time.

For cataract surgeries, B.C. has gone from 52 per cent to 76 per cent hitting the benchmark.

READ MORE: Organ transplant patients in limbo as Alberta, Saskatchewan delay surgeries amid COVID-19 surge

Across the country, the study is painting a clearer picture of how the pandemic has strained Canada’s health-care system, delaying medical procedures and forcing a massive backlog of surgeries.

Data released by the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI) on Tuesday showed that across the country, longer wait times for different types of surgeries persisted as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Even though the wait times decreased over an 18-month period between April 2020 and September 2021, patients had to experience repeated delays for elective surgeries, such as cataracts, hip and joint replacements, as resources were prioritized for more urgent procedures like hip fracture repair, radiation therapy and cancer surgery.

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic has seen surgery delays persist in Canada, new study shows

British Columbia ranks second nationally in patients meeting the clinical benchmarks for both hip and knee replacements and first for cataract surgeries.

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Median wait times are now shorter for MRI scans compared to pre-pandemic in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and British Columbia.

Manitoba and Nova Scotia have increased seen an increase in MRI waits.

For cancer surgeries, those with breast cancer are now waiting 18 days for surgery compared to 19 days in 2019.

For prostates cancer, the wait has gone from 42 days to 37 days over the same time period.

-with files from Saba Aziz and Jamie Mauracher

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