The Manitoba government will continue to support innovation in priority surgeries such as cataract removal and hip and knee replacements while responding to the recommendations contained in the Wait Times Reduction Task Force Report including increasing the number of surgeries performed, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced.
“Manitoba has maintained consistent wait times for radiation therapy, significantly increased the number of CT scans performed in the province, reduced wait times for coronary artery bypass grafts and achieved the best results in the country for hip fracture repair, with patients being treated within 48 hours,” said Goertzen. “Regarding hip and knee replacements, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) report validates the work we have already done with the Wait Times Reduction Task Force report, which recommended a number of changes necessary to improve access for Manitobans.”
He added the CIHI report reinforces what this government has been saying since before taking power in 2016 – the province’s health-care system is not working as it should for Manitobans and government will implement the necessary changes to improve it.
“These reports show Manitobans deserve better from their health-care system,” said Goertzen. “They motivate us to continue to make the changes that will change the system to one that serves Manitobans the way it should.”
Both reports find Manitoba continues to experience challenging wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery and cataract surgery, with referrals increasing in recent years. Goertzen said the government would be unveiling its response to the task force report soon.
“We perform approximately 3,000 hip and knee revision surgeries in Winnipeg each year, and have been making some progress in increasing our ability to perform more procedures within existing budgets by embracing innovation. However, demand continues to grow,” said Jack MacPherson, medical director of the surgery program, orthopedic surgeon and co-chair of the priority procedures wait times reduction committee of the Wait Times Reduction Task Force. “I’m pleased the government is planning to address the task force recommendations in this area.”
Goertzen also pointed to three innovative practices recently implemented which are showing promising results.
The first practice offers cataract surgeries without sedation to patients who meet the clinical criteria to have the procedure done this way. Since August 2017, Misericordia Health Centre, where the bulk of cataract surgeries are performed in Winnipeg, has already performed 200 cataract removals without sedation for eligible clients who have experienced shorter recovery times with the same restoration of sight.
Additionally, Winnipeg is the third Canadian centre to offer same-day hip surgery. The procedure is done using a special type of anesthetic and results in a significant saving of time and money, since patients do not need to stay in hospital overnight. Many other criteria need to be in place for clients to qualify, including help at home for the first night following surgery to ensure patient safety. However, the minister noted initial feedback from the 36 patients to have the procedure done here has been promising.
Finally, a hip and knee clinic has been introduced to reduce the number of people referred for surgery. In the pilot program, a physiotherapist and a non-practicing orthopedic surgeon assess patients. In some cases, patients are able to address their hip and knee issues through exercise or treatment other than surgery. This ensures resources are being used most efficiently and helps reduce the number of people referred for surgery.
“As part of the clinical and preventive services planning process, we have been looking at the best practices that are working elsewhere to develop new ways of providing care,” said Lanette Siragusa of Shared Health. “Projects like the hip and knee clinic are an example of the kind of innovation we need to enhance access to care and improve the quality of life for Manitoba patients in a timely way, and we’re pleased at the positive early results we’re already seeing.”