Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. says surgical wait list now below pre-pandemic levels

More operating room staff a permanent increase

B.C.’s health ministry currently has about 84,000 people on its waiting lists for non-urgent scheduled surgeries, 10 per cent fewer than last February before COVID-19 pandemic measures put a halt to procedures and began emptying hospital beds.

Health Minister Adrian Dix marked the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of elective surgeries Friday, thanking people who came out of retirement, increased their skills or came to B.C. to tackle the backlog created when more than more than 30,000 scheduled surgeries were postponed last year.

One of those coming out of retirement to led the surgical renewal effort was Michael Marchbank, the former Fraser Health CEO brought in for a year to manage the expansion of B.C.’s surgical capacity. He said the additional surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staff added in the past year represent a permanent expansion of capacity for a hospital system that has struggled to keep up with a growing and aging population.

Surgery contracts with private clinics have also been used in the past year to recover from the pandemic disruption, as new patients continue to be added to B.C.’s health care responsibilities.

RELATED: B.C. surgeries ‘almost back to normal’ by September

RELATED: Operating room hours extended to make up ground

“The 274 surgical specialty nurses who have started their training, and the 172 who have completed training, is a permanent change for the better,” Marchbank said March 19.

Since April 1, 2020, B.C. has hired 44 surgeons, 54 anesthesiologists, 410 perioperative registered nurses, 254 post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses and 346 medical device reprocessing technicians.

B.C. wait times peaked in May 2020, as U.S. hospitals were going over capacity with COVID-19 patients, following earlier pandemic crises in China and northern Italy. Part of Vancouver’s convention centre was prepared to serve as an overflow hospital.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

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

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read