Mar 23, 2023

By Jeremy Logan

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The COVID-19-caused backlog is still keeping many patients waiting longer than is recommended, according to a new analysis from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, even though hospitals throughout Canada are performing procedures at levels that are quite similar to those prior to the epidemic.

The study compared the number of cancer operations, cataract procedures, and knee and hip replacements carried out in 2019 to those carried out in 2022.

When COVID-19 struck, thousands of joint replacement and cataract surgeries were postponed or cancelled, resulting in a backlog of operations that medical professionals haven’t yet been able to clear.

Six months is the maximum suggested waiting period for knee and hip replacements.

Only 50% of Canadian patients, according to research, underwent knee replacement surgery between April 2022 and September 2022.

Around 70% of knee replacements were performed within the suggested time frame prior to the epidemic.

Around 57% of patients who needed hip replacements underwent surgery within the advised six-month window in 2022 compared to 75% of patients in 2019.

Cancer surgery wait times haven’t changed significantly because the most urgent cases were given priority during COVID-19 shutdowns, although during the first few months of the pandemic, there were 20% fewer cancer procedures conducted.

The CIHI analysis reveals that there is significant diversity throughout the provinces in terms of patients receiving their operation within that time frame, despite the fact that the maximum recommended wait time for cataract surgery is 112 days.

While a higher percentage of patients in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island receive their cataract surgeries within the recommended 112 days, more patients in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Ontario wait longer.

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