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Only 27 per cent of Alberta knee replacement surgeries were done on time in 2022: CIHI

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If you were an Albertan waiting for a knee replacement in 2022 and you're still waiting, you're not alone.

According to data released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (cihi.ca), 78,000 fewer surgeries were performed in Alberta.

For people waiting on knee replacements, 27 per cent were performed within the recommended time frame in 2022, compared with 62 per cent in 2019.

Across Canada, patients experienced longer wait times for joint replacements.

Countrywide, about 50 per cent received their knee replacement within the recommended time frame, as opposed to 75 per cent pre-pandemic.

The best was Ontario, where 68 per cent received their knee replacement within the recommended time frame.

Worst were Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, where only 23 per cent received theirs.

The backlog of cataract surgeries has been smaller than joint replacement wait times, with about 66 per cent of patients receiving surgery within the recommended time frame.

From April to September 2022, 50 per cent of patients nationally waited one to three days longer for breast, bladder, colorectal and lung cancer surgeries and around 12 days longer for prostate cancer surgery, compared with pre-pandemic wait times.

"It is encouraging to see that surgery volumes in certain provinces are nearing pre-pandemic levels," said Tracy Johnson, CIHI director of health system analytics.

"Reducing wait times is a complex challenge, and pre-pandemic surgery numbers will need to be exceeded to recover and to reduce surgical backlogs, although the findings vary across provinces and territories."

CIHI is an independent, not-for-profit organization that works with federal, provincial and territorial stakeholders to share information that informs policy, management, care and research across Canada.

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