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BC Government commits to reduce surgical wait times

Doctors applaud Horgan Government’s commitment to reduce surgical wait times

VANCOUVER (Wednesday, March 21, 2018) – Doctors across British Columbia and Canada welcome the BC Government’s commitment to reduce surgery wait times, with specific focuses on hip and knee procedures. In an announcement at the Vancouver General Hospital this morning, Premier John Horgan announced that the Province will create hip and knee projects in each Regional Health Authority.

“This announcement marks a direct response to what health professionals and advocates have been long calling for,” said Dr. Danyaal Raza, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “As medical professionals we know that there are examples throughout the public health care system of innovative approaches to improving access to care and reducing wait times. Scaling up these initiatives is critical to improving the health of Canadians.”

In 2016-2017, 30 per cent of patient waiting for hip surgery and 38 percent of patients waiting for knee surgery waited more than 26 weeks. Under the new plan, the BC government is committing ongoing targeted funding to increase surgical volumes, reduce wait times and improve the overall quality of care. In 2018-2019 alone, there will be a 34 per cent increase in hip and knee surgeries.

“Wait times are an issue in any health care system, and ours is no different, but concrete steps like those announced today can have a significant impact not only on the time patients wait to access services but their experience as a whole,” said Dr. Robert Woollard, Vice-Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare and Associate Director of the Rural Coordination Centre of BC.

“As a physician having practiced in BC for 45 years in both rural and urban practices, I am encouraged by the government’s choice to model their hip and knee project off the Richmond Hospital’s experience. Collaborative and multi-disciplinary approaches to care are efficient and incredibly effective,” said Woollard.

While the bulk of the announcement focuses on the new hip and knee surgery projects, the Premier ensured his government’s commitment to reducing wait times across the board for surgeries and emphasized their commitment to enhancing BC’s public health care system.

“The stable long-term funding in this commitment will also help ensure continued growth in the capacity of BC’s health care system’s approach to surgical care and attract qualified staff to these collaborative teams,” added Woollard

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Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM) provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly-funded health care system. CDM advocates for innovations in treatment and prevention services that are evidence-based and improve access, quality, equity and sustainability.

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