Many innovative approaches and new programs are under way in BC that offer solutions to provide the best and most timely orthopaedic care. These programs need sufficient hospital resources to make sure all orthopaedic patients can get timely surgical solutions when needed.
Scope of the Problem
Many people in British Columbia have experienced an episode of temporary bodily pain that makes the everyday activities of standing, walking or sleeping difficult.
Every year, tens of thousands of British Columbians are referred by their family physicians to see an Orthopaedic surgeon because their pain did not go away.
Measuring the Wait
The orthopaedic surgeons in BC currently fund an initiative to collect their patient’s wait times from their office electronic medical records, which are also used to manage their wait lists and book patients for consultation visits and surgery
Waiting in Pain for the Consultation
Many orthopaedic surgeons in BC, after receiving their request for a consultation from the family physician, will triage the patient based on medical urgency. If the referral is accepted by the surgeon, the patient is added to their consultation wait list.
Between April 1st 2016 and March 31st 2017 we recorded 16,632 consultations performed by Orthopaedic Surgeons in BC at the request of referring physicians. Half of the patients waited longer than 21 weeks. 1663 patients waited longer then 64 weeks for their consultation.
Waiting in Pain for Surgery.
We recorded 3885 patients who had surgery in fiscal 2016-17. Half of the patients longer then 33 weeks form the time they signed their consents for surgery. 389 patients waited longer then 78 weeks from the time they signed their consents.
Half of these 3885 patients waited longer then 61 weeks from the time they were first referred by their family doctor to their day of surgery.
All health regions in BC had similarly long wait times
Failure to acknowledge the Scope of the Problem
We call upon our elected officials and civil servants to acknowledge the widespread problems with timely access to Orthopaedic consultation and surgery. The BC health care system needs major reform if BC citizens are to receive timely access to care.