Continued Investment Will Reduce Orthopedic Surgery Wait Times

Freeing up more operating room hours, hiring more surgeons and creating a central booking system will help hundreds more Nova Scotians get the orthopedic surgeries they need.

Government is investing $6.4 million this year in its commitment to reduce wait times for hip and knee replacements.

“Since taking office, 2,200 more orthopedic surgeries have been completed because of increased funding,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “By increasing funding and changing how we do things, more than 500 additional people will get the surgeries they need this year.

“Over the next four years, we will continue to fund more surgeries as we work to meet the national standard.”

The Nova Scotia Health Authority will adopt a patient-centred approach to orthopedic surgeries. The change will allow for better use of operating rooms and improve the booking process.

These changes will give patients the freedom to choose where they can have orthopedic surgeries so they can easily access the operating rooms with the shortest possible wait times.

The health authority will also hire four surgeons and four anesthetists, and continue to enhance pre-habilitation services to get patients ready for surgery. Funding will also be used for new equipment, minor space renovations and to hire staff to support growing teams.

Physicians have been instrumental in planning how to effectively reduce wait times.

“This funding will help us greatly improve access to joint replacement, reducing both the number of people waiting for surgery and the length of time they must wait,” said Dr. Eric Howatt, senior medical director of perioperative services, Nova Scotia Health Authority and co-chair of the Provincial Orthopedic Working Group. “From surgery preparation, to the operating room, to the return home for recovery, patients will see their surgeries co-ordinated from start to finish.”

“The province has increased funding for orthopedic surgeries each year over the last four years, and we’re seeing improvement,” said Mr. Delorey. “These changes will get even more patients into surgery faster.”

Orthopedic surgeries are done at Dartmouth General Hospital, Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Halifax Infirmary Hospital, Aberdeen Hospital and Valley Regional Hospital. Pediatric surgeries are done at the IWK.