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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

A rendering of the proposed “Aqua” resort in Kelowna’s Lower Mission area. (Contributed)
Towering waterfront resort planned in Kelowna

Mission Group’s ‘Aqua’ resort has been in the works for more than a decade

A pair of Okanagan Regional Library reference librarians have created a podcast called Hard Cover that takes a zany but informative look at books, libraries and librarians. (File photo)
Okanagan reference librarians produce quirky podcast

Davin Helkenberg and Peter Critchley are behind Hard Cover

Okanagan Symphony Orchestra music director Rosemary Thomson in action at the podium. Photo by Lynda Miller.
Kelowna filmmaker gets funding to create new ‘Local Heroes’ documentary

The documentary will be focused on the director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and Opera

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Most Read