Posted on Categories Member-News, News, Press Release

More hip and knee surgeries may mean less access for the other 85% of orthopaedic patients

 


Vancouver~ The provincial government’s recent announcement of targeted funding for more hip and knee replacement surgeries may mean decreased access for the other 85% of orthopaedic patients on wait lists, according to Dr. Alastair Younger, president of the BC Orthopaedic Association.

“While we are pleased there is a promise for more timely access to care for our hip and knee replacement patients, they only amount to 15% of all orthopaedic surgeries in the province,” he pointed out. “The other 85% still face long wait-times – from referral to consultation with a surgeon, to surgery itself takes an average of almost a full year – and that is not timely care.

“Many patients requiring orthopaedic care are unable to work,” Dr. Younger explained. “For example, half of patients with ankle arthritis cannot work. In the absence of more funding for these types of patients, the priority on hips and knees could well increase wait times for patients suffering with ankle, shoulder, foot, hand, wrist, elbow and other musculoskeletal challenges.”

Dr. Younger pointed out that more funding for hip and knee replacements does not address the increased need for access to trauma surgery because of our growing and aging population. “Orthopaedic surgeons cover both elective surgery and fractured bones,” Dr. Younger explained. “The fractures are often managed at night and over weekends, and amount to over 50% of the work performed by orthopaedic surgeons. With more hip and knee replacements being required by the government’s program, this may mean reduced access to trauma surgery and certainly puts more strain on all the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff providing orthopaedic care.

“We do laud the government’s announcement and we always want to work with the Ministry of Health towards improving timely access to care for all orthopaedic patients,” Dr. Younger said. “But we feel strongly that unequal access to care is a violation of the Accessibility Principle of the Canada Health Act and indeed, restricted access to care may be viewed as a human rights violation. We take these ethical and legal considerations seriously.

“There’s also the practical side to consider as well,” he pointed out. “Some facilities and administrators will make resource allocation decisions to prioritize hip and knee replacements and that will exacerbate wait times for other orthopaedic patients. For example, we treat many children, teens and young adults who may face lifelong disabilities or missed opportunities without appropriate and timely care.”

The British Columbia Orthopaedic Association is the professional organization that advocates for orthopaedic patients and represents the majority of orthopaedic surgeons in the province.

 

 

Posted on Categories Member-News, News

BCOA Annual General Meeting & UBC Orthopaedic Update

BCOA Annual General Meeting & UBC Orthopaedic Update

BCOA AGM Friday, May 4, 3:30 PM
UBC Ortho Update: Improving Patient Care and Outcomes: Hot Topics and Controversies in 2018
May 3 & 4, 2018
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
580 West Hastings Ave
Vancouver, BC
Click here for the program and here to register!
We encourage you to attend the entire meeting, however, if you can only attend Friday afternoon, from lunch onwards, it is complimentary for all BCOA  members! 

 

 

Posted on Categories Member-News, News, Press Release

Study confirms long waits for access to orthopaedic care

 


Vancouver ~ A study of wait times for 4,100 BC orthopaedic patients concluded that the average journey from referral to surgery was “worrisomely long at 59.5 weeks,” according to the study’s authors Drs. Alistair Younger and Dr. Kevin Wing.

“This study confirmed what our members – orthopaedic surgeons in British Columbia – have long known: our patients wait up to one year for non-emergency access to consultation and care,” Dr. Younger said. “It’s been difficult to get accurate information about this, especially when the BC Ministry of Health’s own website seems to suggest access to surgery takes only a few weeks.”

Published this week in the BC Medical Journal (BCMJWaitTimes) and funded by the BC Orthopaedic Association, the province-wide study looked at wait times for orthopaedic care in all five health regions and examined regional variations as well. The data was collected from 49 orthopaedic surgeons between May and July of last year.

“All health authorities have long waits for consultation and surgery, with some variation by region,” Dr. Younger said. “The bright spots with lower wait times for consultation were regions in which there are surgeon-led multi-disciplinary clinics that utilize centralized intake and ‘first available surgeon’ strategies to reduce wait times.”

Drs. Younger and Wing pointed out that the province’s announcement last month of more funding for hip and knee replacements do not address the trauma surgery increases created by our growing and aging population. “Orthopaedic surgeons cover both elective surgery and fractured bones,” Dr. Younger explained. “The fractures are often managed at night and over weekends, and amount to over 50% of the work performed by orthopaedic surgeons.

“We feel strongly that unequal access to care is a violation of the Accessibility Principle of the Canada Health Act and indeed, restricted access to care may be viewed as a human rights violation. We take these ethical and legal considerations seriously,” Dr. Younger said. “In addition, we treat many children, teens and young adults who may face lifelong disabilities or missed opportunities without appropriate and timely care.”

The BCOA 2017 wait time study, will be repeated later this year.