Patient prepared for operation at Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, 2016. The B.C. government has contracted for surgeries in private clinics as well as adding hospital capacity to catch up on 30,000 procedures to prepare for COVID-19 cases in the medical system. (The Canadian Press)

Patient prepared for operation at Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver, 2016. The B.C. government has contracted for surgeries in private clinics as well as adding hospital capacity to catch up on 30,000 procedures to prepare for COVID-19 cases in the medical system. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. surgery wait list getting shorter after COVID-19 disruption

Medical staff added after wait times doubled for some

Extra surgeons and medical staff have helped to begin bringing B.C.’s surgery wait list down after it peaked with more than 100,000 people waiting for procedures due to COVID-19 preparations in the health care system.

As of Nov. 22, 90 per cent of operations that were postponed in the first wave of COVID-19 have been completed, Health Minister Adrian Dix reported Jan. 6 in the latest update on a surgery renewal plan that began in May. The total wait list has been reduced by six per cent since March 31, and 12 per cent from its peak on May 28, when 100,297 people were waiting for surgery.

The latest progress report shows that for the month ending Nov. 12, 2,233 non-urgent surgeries were performed on patients waiting longer than twice their target wait time. The wait list decreased to 88,401, four per cent below the same period in 2019 and down 12 per cent since the peak in May.

Along with regional health authority contracted surgeries with private clinics, the health ministry has hired 33 surgeons, 32 anesthesiologists, nearly 500 specialist nurses and other staff. The ministry projects that all postponed surgeries will be caught up by next summer, after an additional $187 million has been allocated to catch up.

RELATED: B.C. ‘almost back to normal’ for scheduled surgeries

RELATED: Long-term patients moved, surgeries postponed

“These are all remarkable achievements at the six-month mark,” Dix said.

Michael Marchbank, the former CEO of Fraser Health hired to lead the surgical renewal program, said calling more than 111,000 patients to see if they were ready to reschedule was generally appreciated, after the uncertainty of the pandemic. It also revealed that some patients no longer wanted surgery, had it completed or were on the wait list due to errors, reducing the list by 8,000.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Tyler Tardi will serve as a fifth on Team Laycock at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tyler Tardi to serve as alternate for B.C. team at Brier

Langley/Cloverdale curler to serve as ‘fifth’ on Team Laycock at Calgary-hosted championships

Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank is located at 2356 156 St. (File photo)
Door-to-door canvassers not working on behalf of Sources Food Bank, says manager

Accredited White Rock, South Surrey, Langley food bank does not canvas for donations

Surrey RCMP say that after checking on a “semi-conscious” driver in Whalley on Jan. 20, 2021, officers found about 21 grams of suspected cocaine, 68 grams of suspected fentanyl, about $1,400 in case, a stolen shotgun and ammunition. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP say ‘semi-conscious’ driver found with drugs, gun

Officer saw ‘open alcohol and suspected drugs’ inside the vehicle, police say

Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic in Surrey, at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (Photo: Fraser Health)
Surrey gets one of three post-COVID-19 recovery clinics

The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre is located at 9750 140th Street

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

Officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read