Patient prepared for operation at Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, 2016. The B.C. government has contracted for surgeries in private clinics as well as adding hospital capacity to catch up on 30,000 procedures to prepare for COVID-19 cases in the medical system. (The Canadian Press)

Patient prepared for operation at Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, 2016. The B.C. government has contracted for surgeries in private clinics as well as adding hospital capacity to catch up on 30,000 procedures to prepare for COVID-19 cases in the medical system. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. surgery wait list getting shorter after COVID-19 disruption

Medical staff added after wait times doubled for some

Extra surgeons and medical staff have helped to begin bringing B.C.’s surgery wait list down after it peaked with more than 100,000 people waiting for procedures due to COVID-19 preparations in the health care system.

As of Nov. 22, 90 per cent of operations that were postponed in the first wave of COVID-19 have been completed, Health Minister Adrian Dix reported Jan. 6 in the latest update on a surgery renewal plan that began in May. The total wait list has been reduced by six per cent since March 31, and 12 per cent from its peak on May 28, when 100,297 people were waiting for surgery.

The latest progress report shows that for the month ending Nov. 12, 2,233 non-urgent surgeries were performed on patients waiting longer than twice their target wait time. The wait list decreased to 88,401, four per cent below the same period in 2019 and down 12 per cent since the peak in May.

Along with regional health authority contracted surgeries with private clinics, the health ministry has hired 33 surgeons, 32 anesthesiologists, nearly 500 specialist nurses and other staff. The ministry projects that all postponed surgeries will be caught up by next summer, after an additional $187 million has been allocated to catch up.

RELATED: B.C. ‘almost back to normal’ for scheduled surgeries

RELATED: Long-term patients moved, surgeries postponed

“These are all remarkable achievements at the six-month mark,” Dix said.

Michael Marchbank, the former CEO of Fraser Health hired to lead the surgical renewal program, said calling more than 111,000 patients to see if they were ready to reschedule was generally appreciated, after the uncertainty of the pandemic. It also revealed that some patients no longer wanted surgery, had it completed or were on the wait list due to errors, reducing the list by 8,000.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Extensive water on No. 4 and 5 at the Mount Brenton Golf Course following heavy rains earlier this month. (Photo submitted)
Mount Brenton Golf Course does a booming business in 2020

A total of 15,000 more rounds played than the previous year

The memorial site for double-murder victims Nellie Williams and Fran Shurie, located in Charles Hoey Park, will be allowed to stay for another two months after the City of Duncan changed its policy on temporary memorials. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan allows temporary memorials to stay longer

Policy change related to memorial for double-homicide victims in city park

Snow is sticking to the ground on Malahat Drive at Shawnigan Lake Road. (Drive BC)
Snowfall warning issued for Malahat

10 centimetres of snow expected between Goldstream and Mill Bay

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

Most Read