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BC Gov’t aims to reduce wait times for hip and knee surgeries at UHNBC

The Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, stopped in Prince George to announce one of five programs, as a part of their four-part Surgical and Diagnostic Strategy.

The government is focusing on reducing wait times for hip and knee surgeries, and increase magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams by 70 per cent, for a total of 13,000 exams this year at UHNBC, Mills Memorial and Fort st. John.

Dix says reducing wait times is just one of the problems they are trying to address.

“For a lot of communities the key issue is hospitals primary care, or a place for seniors to go. Those are, obviously, priorities of what we are doing as well. This announcement means people waiting in pain for hip and knee replacements won’t have to wait as long.”

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The number of hip and knee replacement surgeries at UHNBC is expecting to increase 12 per cent in 2018-19.

Local MLA Shirley Bond says the ministers announcement is going to have to require additional cost for training.

“There needs to be an overarching health human resources plan here in Northern BC. That needs to be a priority. If we are going to announce new services and facilities you absolutely have to have the people to make that work.”

In the North, 63 per cent of all hip and knee surgeries are performed at UHNBC.

As of march 31, 2017, there was approximately 38 per cent of people waiting for hip replacement surgery, and 51 per cent for knee surgery, waited more than 26 weeks.

Approximately $11 million in funding is being made available to increase MRI capacity provincewide.

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