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Over half of B.C’s paused surgeries have been completed

The B.C. government says it’s working hard to make sure British Columbians can get back to the operating table. 

The province launched the B.C. Surgical Renewal Commitment back in May to contact patients regarding their surgeries, focus on patients needing surgery most and who it is safest for, add new capacity, hire and train staff, and complete surgeries that have been postponed. 

Today, B.C unveiled its first public report on the Surgical Renewal Commitment, which covers May 18th to June 25th.

“British Columbians have made enormous sacrifices to keep our communities as safe as possible from COVID-19,” said health minister Adrian Dix. 

“As part of this, many surgeries were postponed to prepare our health-care system for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients. In May, we committed to significantly increase the number of surgeries performed beyond pre-COVID-19 levels to keep up with new demands for surgery and complete the surgeries lost to COVID-19. The progress to date is an amazing testament to the tireless dedication of our health-care workers.”

Some of the statistics of the report include: 

  • 62,744 patients have been contacted to arrange their surgery from May 7th to July 12th
  • 52 per cent of the 17,742 whose surgery was postponed, and who have been called, had their surgeries completed by June 25th
  • 33,723 surgeries have been completed from May 18th to June 25th, representing 91% of last year’s volume.
  • Since the ramp-up period ended June 15th, 100 per cent or more of 2019 volumes have been completed each week.
  • From May 18th to June 25th, urgent surgery volumes exceeded last year’s volumes.
  • Significant focus on patients waiting longer than two times their target wait time resulted in these patients making up 19.4 percent of non-urgent surgeries completed during the time period, compared to 10.5 per cent in 2019.
  • 97 per cent of the previous year’s operating hours were achieved during the ramp-up period.
  • Summer slowdowns will be reduced by 52%. In previous years, surgical activity has decreased during the summer as a result of planned vacations.
  • Surgery durations are back to within six per cent of where they were last year.
  •  $815,000 has been provided to Health Match BC to support the recruitment of additional health-care professionals.
  • Since April 1st, 29 new anesthetists have been recruited.
  • Recruitment efforts have also resulted in the hiring of 111 perioperative registered nurses, six perioperative licensed practical nurses, 60 post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses and 35 medical device reprocessing technicians.

Dix adds that more surgeries will be able to be completed as we move ahead. 

“B.C.’s Surgical Renewal Commitment is a massive and necessary undertaking. Our initial progress is significant and encouraging. That progress, in some ways, is an insurance policy against the potential damaging effects of a second wave of COVID-19 and to help us address the 24,400 patients who may be identified as needing surgery.”

“We know that there is a lot of work to do and that we will face setbacks and challenges along the way. We are fully committed to this work to make sure people get their surgeries – we are all in this together.”

To view the province’s first public report on Surgical Renewal Commitment, click here

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