Ontario Hospitals Tackle ‘Staggering’ Surgical Backlog Caused by COVID-19 – .

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Ontario Hospitals Tackle ‘Staggering’ Surgical Backlog Caused by COVID-19 – .


Assuming doctors were working 120% more hours than before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Dr. Adam Kassam, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) called “unsustainable,” the estimated time for catching up with the most common medical procedures would still be up to two years.

“Using that rate, we know there is a 30-month wait for knee replacement surgery, it’s 20 months for hip replacement, it’s 25 months for cataract surgery. So we’re talking about months and years for Ontario patients, ”Kassam said.

“Our numbers right now are pretty staggering,” he added.

Elective surgeries were canceled at the start of the pandemic and during Wave 3, leaving healthcare workers now scrambling to find ways to be creative and innovative as they aim to get them back on track .

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“Before COVID we had this vision of having same day surgeries for the hips and knees and once you focus on that… then you think about all the things we need to do? Blood conservation strategies and pain management are the two big ones then physiotherapy to help patients get up on the day of surgery, ”said Dr. Stephen Halman, chief of surgery at Humber Hospital River.

Halman remembers a time not so long ago when elective surgeries were stopped and the focus was on the intensive care unit and the growing number of critical COVID-19 patients.

“We were a very tight group each morning to go through the list and make sure that we were optimizing every operating room we had, the inpatient beds that were still available for surgery were being used to their full capacity and in good condition. working with everyone, nurses, office staff, everyone worked really hard to make sure we kept up with the volume of urgent surgeries, ”he recalled.

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The OMA has found that the pandemic has created a staggering backlog of nearly 20 million health services, including doctor visits, diagnostic tests, treatment and surgeries.

The backlog is based on OHIP data from March 2020 to September 2021.

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“It’s someone’s hip or knee replacement that’s late, it’s someone’s cataract surgery that’s late, it’s colonoscopy, mammogram, delayed cancer screening and diagnostic care. It is therefore an important concern in the profession and for patients, ”said Kassam.

The OMA recently presented a plan to tackle the backlog and improve health care in the province.

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“There are many areas where we believe collaboration and cooperation can really help. So first and foremost, healthcare is a team sport and we have asked for increased funding not only from the provincial government but also from the federal government to address the backlog of services, ”Kassam said. .

At Humber River Hospital, in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, the team tackled the backlog by establishing an outpatient hysteroscopy clinic.

“The wait times to enter the clinic are much shorter… your recovery is also faster, so probably in an hour or an hour and a half you are back home and back to your normal activities.,»Explained Dr André Laroche, head of the obstetrics and gynecology department and medical director of the Mother-Child Program.

“A hysteroscopy is looking inside a uterus with a small cameraWhat this allows us to do is diagnose and treat certain medical conditions leading to either abnormal uterine bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, or infertility., »Says Laroche.

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For patient Ioana Caracas-Lupu, the clinic helped her complete the procedure in a timely manner and, most importantly, get the answers she needed.

“It was nice to see that I could be seen quickly because I even struggled to find a gynecologist for about a year and having to suffer from symptoms is definitely not acceptable,” she said.

Halman called COVID-19 a “great accelerator,” noting that the pandemic has forced health officials to find ways to do things they had not been able to accomplish before.

“We were able to be much more efficient and come back to where we weren’t even open all of our rooms yet and we’re not quite there yet. Likely, January will take us back to 100% of where we were before COVID. But by then we’ll probably be able to get 110-120% closer to where we were, ”he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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