New Brunswick to List Surgical Wait Times by Surgeon


New Brunswick plans to update its surgery wait times website to include wait times for each surgeon, a Department of Health memo reveals.

This change “reflects an intention to increase transparency in public reporting and promote better referral planning among referring providers,” says the memo signed by Acting Assistant Deputy Minister Éric Levesque.

It will also allow New Brunswick to “bring itself more into line with [its] provincial counterparts, while providing New Brunswickers with a means to learn about wait times for surgical procedures in New Brunswick,” he wrote.

The Wait Times website currently provides wait times in days for health care facilities, surgical specialties, and selected surgical procedures.

Once updated, the website will list each surgeon, their specialty, health zone, and wait time in days.

The update is expected to go into effect this summer, according to the memo.

The Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

The New Brunswick Medical Society, which represents doctors in the province, declined to comment on Monday, including saying whether it had been consulted about the change and what its concerns were, if any.

“We are expected to have an overview of the new system and how it works in the coming days,” spokesman Jim Johnson said in an email. “We will wait to comment until we have a clearer idea of ​​how this will work.”

The Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick, Dr. Ed Schollenberg, was out of province and could not be reached for comment.

Updating the website falls under the purview of the Provincial Surgery Advisory Group established in June 2020 to advise the Department of Health and regional health authorities on strategies to address service delivery issues services in New Brunswick, including wait times, timeliness and appropriateness of service.

“We believe that providing information on surgeon wait times can help citizens and providers understand wait times for surgery in the province and thus make informed decisions about their surgical journey. wait time,” wrote Levesque.

The pilot will give the choice to the citizens

Last November, the ministry released a new provincial health plan called Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, which addresses “long wait times for surgery.”

It described a pilot project slated to begin in April, where primary care providers could electronically refer citizens to orthopedic specialists, and citizens could then choose either the next available specialist in their health zone or wait for a specific surgeon. .

“Citizens will benefit from faster access to specialist care through an integrated online consultation system implemented for physicians across the province,” the plan says.

“Over the next two years, this process will expand to include other specialties across the province,” Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said.

By 2023, the list of citizens waiting more than a year for hip and knee replacement surgery will be eliminated, and no one will wait more than a year for service, Shephard had said.

Within two years, all surgery wait times will be cut in half, she said.

Non-compliance with national standards

As the province’s population ages, more surgeries are needed and “while staffing shortages persist, New Brunswick has fallen behind national timelines for hip and knee replacement surgeries,” says the plan.

In New Brunswick, only 47% of citizens receive hip or knee replacement surgery within six months of the orthopedist agreeing to operate.

By comparison, 72 percent of Canadians have the surgery within six months of being recommended.

For hip replacements, five out of 10 surgeries province-wide were completed within 192 days between January and March, according to the Wait Times website.

One in 10 province-wide still have not been done after 490 days.

That’s two and a half times the national benchmark for 182-day hip replacement surgeries.

Of the 180 hip replacements performed in the province between January and March, one in 10 waited longer than 470 days. The national benchmark is 182 days. (Government of New Brunswick)

The longest wait is at The Moncton Hospital, with one in 10 still waiting 595 days.

“Please note that data from January to March 2020 should be viewed with caution as wait times were directly impacted due to COVID-19,” the website advises.

A total of 180 hip replacement surgeries were performed in the province between January and March 2022.

During the same period last year, 328 hip replacements were performed, five out of 10 in 273 days and one in 10 still waiting after 493 days.

The dark blue lines show wait times for five out of 10 knee replacement surgeries in New Brunswick between April 2019 and March 2022, while the light blue lines show wait times for nine out of 10 surgeries. (Government of New Brunswick)

For knee replacements, five out of 10 surgeries were completed in 287 days between January and March this year, while one was still waiting after 563 days.

The national benchmark for knee replacements is also 182 days.

Once again, The Moncton Hospital had the longest wait, with one in 10 not completed after 853 days.

During this three-month period, 260 knee replacements were performed.

Last year, 604 knee replacements were performed during this period. Five out of 10 were completed in 271 days and one was still pending after 544 days.

According to current projections, nearly one-third of New Brunswick’s population will be over the age of 65 by the end of the 2030s, according to the department.

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