Premier John Horgan announces a $175-million influx at Vancouver General Hospital on Wednesday, March 21, to ensure that fewer people have to wait so long for hip and knee surgery. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

B.C. announces $175 million to cut hip, knee surgery wait times

Premier John Horgan said money will allow for a 34-per-cent increase in surgeries

People waiting for a knee or hip replacement in B.C. will get the surgery sooner than they thought, following a $175-million funding injection announced by Premier John Horgan.

“That will lead to a 34-per-cent increase in procedures. Four thousand people will now have access to [surgeries],” Horgan said at a news conference at Vancouver General Hospital on Wednesday.

About 14,400 hip and knee surgeries were performed in 2016-17, and with this funding, more than 19,000 will be done in 2018-19.

Dr. Bassram Masri, head of the VGH orthopaedics department, said he’s seen waiting times of up to two years for hip and knee surgeries.

“The average waiting time for surgery is 17 weeks [in Vancouver Coastal Health],” Masri said. “We have a benchmark that we would like most of our patients to be waiting no more than 26 weeks.”

But only about two thirds of patients in that health region wait only that long. Across B.C., 70 per cent of hip surgery patients and 62 per cent of knee surgery patients waited less than the target 26 weeks.

The funding, which is part of a four-part surgical strategy, will come in two portions: $75 million in 2018-19 and another $100 million in 2019-20. It was also previously announced in the provincial government’s 2018 budget.

The new model will build on the work done in a Richmond pilot project by adding new components like dedicated operating room time, pre- and post-surgical support, centralized intake, standardized assessment, first available surgeon and ongoing evaluation.

The project, which the Hospital Employees Union said should have never been abandoned, cut wait times by 75 per cent.

Edith MacHattie, the co-chair of the BC Healthcare Coalition, welcomed the news, especially the speed at which the services would be rolled out, but said she’d like to see more done.

“We’d like to see strategies such as a centralized wait list and first available surgeon models because right now people are waiting for months and months on individual wait lists held by individual surgeons.”

The wait lists would be by health authority, she said, to cut down on travel costs.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Info sessions in Langley, Surrey for New Horizons for Seniors Program grants

MP John Aldag says program reaffirms government’s ongoing commitment to supporting seniors

Langley-Cloverdale MP’s reconciliation-focused bill passes in House of Commons

Surrey MP’s Bill C-374 would add ‘much-needed Indigenous representation to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board’

Spotlight directed on ‘working man’s car’ at Sunday’s St. George’s Motoring Show

‘Britishautophiles’ will gather in front of Fort Langley Community Hall for 13th consecutive year

Pancake picnic in the park this Saturday

Grand re-opening of Hunter Park includes music and tree planting

Past versus present as Spartans volleyball program takes the court

Trinity Western will represent Canada in Brazil this summer, begin preparation with match against alumni

NDP gives Liberal budget ‘failing grade’ on gender equality

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson said budget doesn’t do enough to focus on pay equity

Trump could bail on meeting with Kim

President Trump says he could still pull out of meeting if he feels it’s “not going to be fruitful”

Cochrane reworks ‘Big League’ for Broncos

Tom Cochrane releases his reworked version of “Big League” following Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Supreme Court upholds law in cross-border booze case

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Section 121 does not impose absolute free trade across Canada

Trudeau looks for less plastic, more LGBTQ rights at Commonwealth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the Commonwealth meeting in London

Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe stops at $15 million

Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe site stops accepting donations as planned

Builder of Kinder Morgan reinforces concerns over project

B.C. heads to court over pipeline jurisdiction as builder says doubt warranted

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

Great-grandmother and Coquitlam, B.C., resident has been donating blood since the late 1940s

Most Read