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B.C.’s second year of surgical renewal delivers record number of surgeries

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:07 PDT, Wed May 4, 2022

In the second year of B.C.’s surgical renewal commitment to patients, the province has exceeded its pre-pandemic volume of surgeries.

"Through the dedicated efforts of everyone involved in delivering surgeries and the actions by British Columbians to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 and ease pressures on our hospitals, over 337,000 surgeries were completed in the 12-month period ending March 31—the most surgeries ever completed in a single year in B.C.," said Health Minister Adrian Dix. "Every surgery is life-changing for the patient who receives it, and that's why we made our surgical renewal commitment to patients."

Saturday (May 7) marks the second anniversary of government's commitment to surgical renewal.

On March 16, 2020, non-urgent scheduled surgeries were postponed because of COVID-19, and on May 18, 2020, non-urgent scheduled surgeries resumed. Since then, additional surgical postponements were caused by subsequent waves of COVID-19, extreme weather, and staff illness.

As of March 31, 2022:

• 99.8 per cent of patients whose scheduled surgeries were postponed during the first wave and still wanted to pursue a surgical treatment had their surgeries

• 96.2 per cent of patients whose scheduled surgeries were postponed because of the second and third COVID-19 waves and who still wanted to pursue a surgical treatment had their surgeries

• 78.9 per cent of the patients whose scheduled surgeries were postponed because of waves four and five and who still wanted to pursue surgical treatment had their surgeries

The surgical renewal commitment is B.C.'s commitment to deliver surgeries that were postponed because of COVID-19, to schedule and deliver surgeries that were not scheduled because of COVID-19, to deliver surgeries fastest to those who need them most, and to change the way surgeries are delivered in B.C.

Surgical renewal achievements in Year 2 include the following:

• Delivery of 52,216 urgent scheduled surgeries—5.3 per cent more than in the same timeframe in Year 1, and 7.1 per cent more than in 2019-20 (pre-COVID-19)

• Delivery of 201,880 non-urgent scheduled surgeries—8.6 per cent more than in Year 1 and 1.5 per cent more than in 2019-20 (pre-COVID-19)

• An increase of 17,341 operating-room hours to 586,657 compared to the same timeframe in Year 1 and 13,627 more hours than in 2019-20

• Completion of 337,560 scheduled and unscheduled surgeries—6.7 per cent more than in the same timeframe in Year 1 and 2.2 per cent more than in 2019-20

• Reduction by 5.9 per cent of the wait list size for urgent cases compared to March 31, 2019/20

• Reduction by 5.9 per cent of the wait list size for non-urgent cases compared to March 31, 2019/20

• Decrease of 11.4 per cent in the total wait list size compared to the peak wait list size on May 28, 2020

• Addition of seven initiatives to increase operating room time and capacity in Year 2, bringing to 84 the number in place or ongoing across all health authorities

• Completion of training by health authorities of an additional 400 perioperative nurses and 100 medical-device reprocessing technicians

"These are significant achievements in fulfilling the commitment," Dix said. "But our work is not done. No health-care system that comes through COVID-19 is renewed or restored at the dropping of restrictions, the easing of measures, or the flicking of a switch. We know that the impacts of the pandemic were not uniform across the surgical system. The work ahead of us now is to build on these achievements, continue to overcome our challenges, and find new opportunities to deliver the surgeries patients need."

To view B.C.'s commitment to surgical renewal, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0026-000830

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