WINNIPEG — Manitoba is tackling the surgical and diagnostic backlog by increasing the number of orthopedic surgeries at Concordia Hospital.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon said Wednesday the expansion will increase access to health-care in the province amid a backlog of procedures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The task force is leading critical work in partnership with Manitoba’s health-care leaders to find solutions that will help to address the delays in surgeries and procedures caused by the demands of the pandemic,” said Gordon.
“There are thousands of Manitobans whose quality of life is profoundly affected by this work, which is why it is critical we continue to make progress and find solutions.”
Figures released by Doctors Manitoba last week suggest the surgical backlog has reached nearly 168,000 cases.
To handle the increase in orthopedic surgeries at Concordia Hospital, a fifth operating room will be added. The province will also recruit an orthopedic surgeon, add four inpatient beds and invest in anesthesia staff. Gordon says the improvements are expected to be in place by the end of the year and will increase capacity by up to 1,000 surgeries per year.
Watch Wednesday’s news conference:
Additional health-care improvements
The province will also invest $400,000 in a clinic meant to address the 900 Manitobans living with back pain who are currently waiting for an assessment by the Spine Assessment Clinic. Four new physical therapists will help provide more on-site, virtual and travel-based assessment services.
It’s expected the additional clinic resources will be in place in the coming months, with the goal of reducing the waitlist for a spine assessment by next spring.
Other initiatives include the purchase and installation of a new mobile CT unit and two new mobile MRI units. These will be placed in Winnipeg to improve outpatient access and reduce wait times for these diagnostic procedures. Once fully operational, the units will be able to deliver more than 11,600 CT scans and 7,200 MRIs annually.
The province is also expanding services at Misericordia’s cataract program and is piloting a project with Sanford Health in North Dakota on spine surgeries. To date, nine Manitobans have received spinal surgery south of the border with additional surgeries scheduled for the coming weeks.