Skip to content

Powell River physicians welcome provincial surgery plan

Wait times too long for hip and knee replacements, says premier John Horgan
knee or hip surgery
FASTER ACCESS: BC premier John Horgan recently announced plans to increase access and reduce wait times for patients requiring knee or hip surgery. Contributed photo

Doctors in Powell River are welcoming the provincial government’s new strategy to cut down on wait times for hip and knee replacement surgery.

“Hip and knee surgeries affect many patients in Powell River who are waiting for these services in hospitals outside of Powell River,” said Powell River Division of Family Practice physician lead Bruce Hobson. “The surgeries are not done in Powell River because there are no orthopedic surgeons operating out of our operating rooms.”

On March 21, premier John Horgan announced in a media release that five hip and knee replacement programs to significantly reduce surgical wait times will be implemented throughout the province, including in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“For far too long, far too many British Columbians were left on wait lists instead of getting fast access to the surgery they needed to enjoy full, active lives,” stated Horgan. “We’re getting people back on their feet faster by dramatically increasing access to hip and knee surgeries.”

Hobson said the new strategy aligns with a Powell River Division of Family Practice priority to increase patient access to timely, appropriate and coordinated care.

“Locally, we are soon to be launching Pathways, a web-based resource designed by physicians, for physicians, that contains the information required to facilitate efficient referrals and support optimal patient care during the referrals process,” said Hobson.

Pathways will include information about current wait times for individual specialists.

“We expect this will help with better specialist referrals so patients can access specialized care at the right place and the right time,” said Hobson.

In 2016/2017, according to government statistics, 30 per cent of patients waiting for hip surgery and 38 per cent of people waiting for knee surgery waited more than 26 weeks, and approximately 14,390 hip and knee surgeries were performed.

The media release also stated that by 2018/2019, more than 19,250 hip and knee surgeries will be performed annually, an increase of 34 per cent.