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As the population across BC continues to age, waitlists for surgeries are growing, leading to longer and longer waits for people to go under the knife.

  • Since 2017 there are over five thousand (5,642) more people waiting for surgeries. (Specifically, for hips, knees, dental and other surgeries.)
  • This is a seven percent increase in the amount of people waiting for necessary surgeries.
  • Fraser Health has seen the largest increase for hip and knee surgery with it taking over 47 weeks before 90% of people waitlisted to receive surgery,
  • Meanwhile the BC average is 41.3 weeks for 90% of people on the waitlist to receive treatment.
  • Four out of five health authorities missed their surgery targets.

Not only did Interior Health (IH) not hit their target, numbers provided by the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows IH has the longest wait times in the Province.

The benchmark for a hip replacement in BC is 182 days, in 2018 50 percent of patients received their surgery within 120 days with 90 percent of patients receiving surgery within 321 days.

Here in the Interior Health region those numbers jump, with the 50-percentile coming in at 177 days and 90 percent at 354 days, both of those being the longest waits in BC.

When you look at knee replacements it doesn’t get much better. The BC benchmark is once again 182 days with 50 percent of patients receiving care within 152 days and 90 percent within 358 days.

Once again Interior Health has the longest waits in the province at 197 days for 50 percent of patients and 370 days for 90 percent.

While the Canadian Institute for Health Information paints one picture, the Ministry itself is painting another. Numbers provided by the Ministry of Health show Interior Health on par for the 50 percentile and a decrease in wait times for the 90 percent for hip and knee replacements.

Q101 spoke with Health Minister Adrian Dix and asked what his government has been doing to quell the wait times not only here in the Interior but across BC.

“Across BC we increased hip and knee replacements by I think 25 percent in one year, which is just extraordinary,” began Minister Dix. “We’ve reduced wait times for hip and knee replacements in Interior Health over the last year.”

“When you look at the last five years leading into this year, the average increase in number of surgeries was one percent, this year it was well over five percent,” said Minister Dix. “We’re doing well and we’re challenging health authorities to do even better. Interior health had an extraordinary increase in the number of surgeries this year.”

Interior Health is expected to complete 4,614 hip and knee surgeries this year, up from 3,291 last year.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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