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

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

Another windstorm expected Monday, causing ferry delay

With another windstorm expected to hit Haida Gwaii on Monday afternoon, BC… Continue reading

Jason Alsop, Gaagwiis, elected Haida Nation president

Jason Alsop, Gaagwiis, is the newly elected president of the Council of… Continue reading

On the Wing: Small birds and berries

By Margo Hearne Into the chill. The Christmas Bird Counts will be… Continue reading

Saturday storm to hit Haida Gwaii with 80 to 100 km/h winds

A strong southeast storm is expected to hit coastal areas of Haida… Continue reading

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Most Read