Home » News » Surgical, Diagnostic Testing Backlog Slowing: Doctors Manitoba

Surgical, Diagnostic Testing Backlog Slowing: Doctors Manitoba

April 29, 2022 9:31 AM | News


In this Aug. 7, 2018 photo, a doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Teresa Crawford)

WINNIPEG — Doctors Manitoba says the diagnostic and surgical backlog is slowing in the province, but has still reached more than 169,000 cases.

“While it’s disappointing to see the estimated backlog grow again, the rate of growth has started to slow down,” said Dr. Kristjan Thompson, president of Doctors Manitoba.

“This reflects what we are seeing on the front line, with more and more staff returning to operating rooms and other areas, helping the system get closer to its pre-pandemic baseline volumes. That said, physicians are looking for a concrete plan from the province on addressing the shortage of nurses, technologists and other professionals needed to catch up and keep up with testing and surgeries. This is the biggest barrier to clearing the backlog.”

Compared to last month’s backlog estimate, there are more than 1,300 new cases of backlogs spurred by the pandemic, including:

  • 55,571 surgeries (as of February 2022), up 751 cases over the last month’s estimate.
  • 46,189 diagnostic imaging procedures (as of February 2022), up 938 cases over last month’s estimate.
  • 67,438 other diagnostic testing procedures (as of March 2022), including allergy tests, endoscopies, mammograms, sleep disorder studies, and lung function tests, an improvement of 378 cases over last month’s estimate.

Some positive news is that the backlog has minorly improved in some areas, including for allergy tests, mammograms and cataract surgery.

While the data provided by Doctors Manitoba is only an estimate based on pre-pandemic levels compared to now, the group has filed a freedom-of-information request with the province to formally seek the necessary data on backlogs.

“It’s important to know how massive the backlog truly is in order to plan how much work has to be done to clear it,” added Thompson. “Physicians, their patients and all Manitobans are looking for more certainty and transparency about the backlog and wait times for testing and surgery.”

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