Task force to deal with Manitoba's surgical backlog coming next week: health minister
Manitoba's health minister says the province is gearing up to name a special committee that will be tasked with tackling Manitoba's ever-growing number of backlogged surgeries.
According to a tracker from Doctors Manitoba, the surgical backlog in the province has grown to more than 13,000 procedures.
During a funding announcement for the Selkirk Regional Health Centre, Health Minister Audrey Gordon said a surgical task force will be named next Wednesday.
But some Manitobans dealing with delayed procedures are worried about any more waiting.
More than two years after coming to the Selkirk Regional Health Centre due to hip pain, Melissa Morrison said she finally got to see a specialist in August. But she's learned her hip replacement surgery can’t happen for at least another year.
"He showed me and it was bone on bone. He said, 'You absolutely need a complete hip replacement,'" she said. "Then when he told me it was over a year. I just cried."
Morrison is a nurse who worked at a care home in Selkirk, but due to the constant hip pain, is unable to work or do a lot of daily tasks without help.
"It is excruciating," she said. "If my residents and patients feel the pain I feel, it just breaks my heart."
Many Manitobans are waiting on surgical procedures, as the province is facing thousands of back-logged surgeries. Some patients are being sent out of their home communities to receive immediate medical care.
"There are family impacts, there are personal impacts for people who are leaving the region necessarily to be placed in other facilities that have capacity," said Dr. David Matear, the CEO of the Interlake Eastern regional health authority.
The province announced it would be putting $31.6 million into the Selkirk Regional Health Centre to help improve the level of care available to the local community by expanding the treatment capacity of the emergency room and adding 30 new acute care in-patient beds, allowing for more surgery patients.
The province is aware other health regions are in need of similar funding.
“So this is yet another step in the right direction and we will be making an announcement soon with respect to northern Manitoba as well as other areas," said Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson.
Health Minister Audrey Gordon said Friday a task force to address the surgical backlog will be named next Wednesday.
“The focus is to ensure Manitobans receive their surgeries and the individuals who are on the task force that are surgeons, we need to ensure that their surgery slates continue,” Gordon said.
Morrison hopes action is taken soon as she is considering getting her procedure done out of province even if it costs thousands of dollars.
"You're living like this anyway, you have no quality of life," she said. "You might as well. That's something we're considering, which is sad because our province – it shouldn't happen."
Gordon said along with naming the task force, the province will set a timeline to clear the backlog and release data publicly on the number of backlogged surgeries.
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