Surgeries ramped up across B.C. since postponement in March

Surgeries ramped up in BC

UPDATE: 11:35 a.m.

The province continues to ramp up surgeries following the postponement of non-urgent surgeries back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And the Interior Health region has seen the largest number of new hirings of healthcare professionals in the province as a result of this ramp up. 

During an update Wednesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix noted that once these non-urgent surgeries started back up on May 18, 163,696 surgeries were performed in B.C. over the following six months, making up about 90 per cent of the people who had surgeries postponed in the first wave of the pandemic. 

Urgent and emergency surgeries were never postponed in B.C.

By Nov. 22, all 111,584 patients who had their surgeries postponed had been contacted by the province to discuss their surgeries. 

Since non-urgent surgeries started back up in May, the Ministry of Health has ramped up its hiring of healthcare professionals across the province to reduce the waitlist for these types of surgeries. The Interior has seen the most new hires of all health authorities, with 264 new staff of the province's 755 hires. 

Health Minister Dix said these new hires have reduced burnout among staff, as overtime hours have been decreased. 

Along with these new hires, the number of operating room hours provincewide has been increased by 7,979 hours through extending daily surgery hours, performing surgeries on weekends and opening new and unused operating rooms. Of the 47 actions to increase surgery time across B.C., the Interior has seen the most of any health authority with 16.

Since March, the province has reduced its total surgery wait times by six per cent – nine per cent for urgent surgeries and five per cent for non-urgent surgeries.

With 367 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across B.C., there is still ample room in hospitals for these non-essential surgeries, but Dix noted that if the second wave of the pandemic drives hospitalization rates higher in the future, postponing non-urgent surgeries remains an option in B.C. 

ORIGINAL: 10:55 a.m.

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix provides an update on B.C.'s surgery renewal strategy, after non-urgent surgeries were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. 

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