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Orthopaedic Care Day in Canada marked as provinces continue to struggle with wait times

Surgery (File photo CTV News) Surgery (File photo CTV News)
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On Wednesday, a not-for-profit association is encouraging Canadians to join in celebrating Orthopaedic Care Day, perhaps while they wait another week to get that operation done.

"Canadian Orthopaedic Care Day transcends mere celebration; it is a powerful reminder of the innovative spirit and tireless dedication within our community,” said Canadian Orthopaedic Association president Dr. Pierre Guy.

With 10.6 per cent of residents living with a mobility-related disability, the association is highlighting the need for advancements in musculoskeletal health and mobility.

“Together, we're not only advancing orthopaedic care for our patients, but also championing a culture of collaboration among healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Pierre Guy.

The association says the orthopaedic team-based care is especially important with the challenge of having the nation's highest specialty wait time for surgery in 2023.

However, it also says recent data reveals some promising developments in the field.

“In 2021–2022, a remarkable 15.6 per cent of hip and knee replacements performed to treat osteoarthritis were conducted as day surgeries, a significant leap from 0.7 per cent in 2018–2019,” stated the association in a news release.

“Our focus remains on improving these wait times through strategic initiatives and collaboration, underscoring the urgent need for continued support and resources.”

'TOO LONG'

According to a report issued by the Fraser Institute, Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2023 are too long.

"The results of this year’s survey indicate that despite provincial strategies to reduce wait times and high levels of health expenditure, it is clear that patients in Canada continue to wait too long to receive medically necessary treatment," the report said.

It found that Ontario had the shortest wait list betweeen a referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment at 21.6 weeks. The average across the country was 27.7 weeks, which is 198 per cent longer than the 9.3 weeks Canadians waited in 1993.

Alberta patients had an average wait time of 33.3 weeks, about the same as Newfoundland's 33.5.

The longest waits are in Nova Scotia, at 56.7 weeks.

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