Some Manitoba surgery wait times increasing despite rise in surgery volumes

Canadian hospitals are performing more surgeries than before the pandemic, but wait times for some procedures are lengthening.

A new study by the Canadian Institute for Healthcare Information (CIHI) shows an 18 per cent increase in hip replacements nationwide in 2023, compared to 2019. But, only 66 per cent of patients received the surgery within the recommended timeframe, compared to 75 per cent in 2019.

While Manitoba has longer waits for knee replacements and hip fractures since 2019, waits for hip replacements and cataract surgeries have improved.

The province is also the only one to complete 100 per cent of radiation therapy within the recommended timeframe.

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Cheryl Chui, director of health system analytics with CIHI, said lingering impacts of the pandemic are one driver of longer wait times, but not the only.

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“I think there are multiple things that go into consideration for addressing wait times, including availability of the health-care workforce, hospital beds and operating room time. So it’s multifactorial in that way,” Chui said.

Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara said the new provincial budget focuses on building capacity in Manitoba to be able to deal with wait times.

The minister said, “In this budget, there are more investments in making sure we have more capacity for hips and knee surgeries and other surgeries here in Manitoba. We are working with our surgeons and care providers across the province to take a provincial approach to this.”

Limited staffing is a part of the problem, Asagwara said, but also the culture, which the government has said it is working to change as a part of its recruitment and retention strategy.

Click to play video: 'Long wait times persist in Manitoba hospitals, ‘real, concrete action’ needed'

Long wait times persist in Manitoba hospitals, ‘real, concrete action’ needed

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