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Province issuing request to address surgery backlog

By: Brayden Hnatiuk
Posted: July 2, 2020 15:35

Plan to catch up on delayed surgeries due to COVID-19

Image: Government of Manitoba

The Manitoba government is issuing a request for proposals to complete elective surgeries postponed due to COVID-19, Health.

Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen says the pandemic has placed a lot of people's procedures on hold and made it a difficult time while they wait for their surgery to be rescheduled. "The government is looking for innovative solutions to address the backlog of surgeries created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we believe this plan will get people the care they need, as quickly and efficiently as possible."

The proposals, which can be submitted by both public and private facilities, must present details on how the applicant will be able to address priority surgical and diagnostic areas by creating additional capacity in the system. 

"The Manitoba government already works with a number of providers outside the public system to provide services, including cataract surgeries, and other surgical and diagnostic procedures," said Friesen. "This government believes Manitobans deserve better health care, sooner. This initiative demonstrates that we are committed to exploring all available options to get surgeries and procedures rescheduled so that Manitobans have access to the care they need now, while the risk of COVID-19 is lower."

Priority areas include, but are not limited to:
o    pediatric dental surgeries;
o    pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeries;
o    minor orthopedic procedures;
o    ophthalmology surgery;
o    outpatient spine procedures; and
o    outpatient urology surgeries. 

Services must be able to be delivered beginning Aug. 1.    

The proposals must also consider and identify how services can be provided by meeting all required legislative, regulatory and standards requirements including regulatory body licensure requirements for health providers. In addition, the proposals must not affect existing service delivery capacity in the public system.

The health-care system paused elective surgeries in late March to ensure there was capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic if case numbers continued to increase. Surgical volumes were reduced by approximately 7,000 procedures. In late April, elective surgeries resumed as case numbers fell and surgical volumes reached 90 per cent of normal levels by early June. At that time, there were approximately 5,500 people still waiting to have their surgery rescheduled. 


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