Northern B.C. will see reduced wait times and a 70 per cent increase in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams, according to an announcement by Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“The public health-care system is being bolstered to help people living in pain get faster access to the surgery they need to enjoy an improved quality of life,” said Dix. “We are taking an open, equitable approach and making sure people get timely care by dramatically improving hip and knee wait times in the North.”
Hip and knee replacement surgeries are expected to rise by 12 per cent at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC), with smaller caseloads in Dawson Creek, Kitimat and Prince Rupert, according to the release.
On March 27, it was announced $11 million would be made available province-wide to help the five health authorities add resources and capacity to meet a target of 37,000 additional MRI exams in the next 12 months.
“Northern Health is pleased to take part in the strategy that is working to expand and improve the quality of our surgical program, and we welcome doing more for patients,” said Colleen Nyce, Northern Health’s board chair. “I am grateful to the staff and physicians at UHNBC. Their work is patient-centred, and they are committed to supporting the best health outcomes for all our patients.”
As of March 31, provincewide, 30 per cent of people waiting for hip surgery and 38 per cent of people waiting for knee surgery waited more than 26 weeks. For the same date, at UHNBC, approximately 38 per cent of people waiting for hip replacement surgery, and 51 per cent of people waiting for knee surgery, waited more than 26 weeks.