Surgery backlog estimated to be at all-time high according to Doctors Manitoba

According to estimates provided by Doctors Manitoba, hospital surgery and diagnostic backlogs are the highest they’ve been in the pandemic. Mike Albanese has more on what they hope they province does to chip away at the growing total.

By Mike Albanese

Doctors Manitoba estimates the backlog for surgeries and diagnostic procedures in the province is at an all-time high.

“Our latest estimate suggests that the backlog has reached nearly 168,000 cases – which is up 6300 cases from last month’s estimate,” explained Dr. Kristjan Thompson, president of Doctors Manitoba. “We estimate that the backlog has grown in effectively every area that we monitor.”

A closer look at the numbers announced today estimates that there are 54,820 surgeries still in the backlog, which is up 2,493 over the last month’s estimate. Diagnostic imaging procedures is up 2,762 cases sitting at 45,251 cases and 67,816 other diagnostic procedures such as endoscopies and mammograms, an increase of 1,047 cases over last month.

“It’s impacting thousands of Manitobans, likely over 10 per cent of our population. Each case is a person, it may even be one of you. Our neighbours, our friends, our families and our loved ones.”

Dr. Thompson says he is encouraged by the province’s diagnostic and surgical recovery task force. Adding between the task force and Manitoban physicians, ideas were floated about how to chip away at some procedures like, by having them completed outside of the hospital setting – but says these are temporary fixes, and more capacity needs to be added to Manitoba’s healthcare to really tackle this backlog, which he predicts will take years to recover from.

“We’re encouraged by recent updates from health system leaders saying surgical volumes are returning to normal in many hospitals. New capacity must be added to help those Manitobans who are still left waiting in both pain and uncertainty,” said Dr. Thompson.

Minister of Health Audrey Gordon says significant progress has been made by the task force, saying more details will be coming next week.

“We’ve got physicians, nurses, business analysts, working in many areas to ensure contract talks and increased capacity in the system, as well as outside,” explained Gordon.

Doctors Manitoba is calling for transparency from the province, increased capacity in Manitoba’s healthcare system, and an official target date to complete the backlog.

“It’s hard to believe that she’s going to provide an update that includes an end date to this backlog, time and time again it’s empty promises, delay-delay, deflect.”

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