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Surgeries that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are starting back up as part of a massive surgical renewal plan.

"British Columbians have stepped up to the challenge of COVID-19 by making sacrifices, including thousands of people who have waited for postponed elective surgeries. This has been very difficult for people and their families," said Premier John Horgan. "But these sacrifices have helped flatten the curve in B.C., and now we can move forward, safely, getting people the surgeries they've been waiting for."

Beginning this month, the Province will launch an extensive surgical renewal plan that will include calling patients, adding new capacity, and hiring and training staff.

"On March 16, we made the difficult decision to postpone surgeries to prepare our health-care system for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "Our commitment is now to get patients through their surgery safely. It is a massive undertaking, but we are giving the same 100% effort to the task that we've made to flattening the curve in B.C."

By May 18, 2020, an estimated 30,000 non-urgent scheduled surgeries will have either been postponed or left on a waitlist due to COVID-19. A further 24,000 patients could also be without a referral to a waitlist. This presents a unique and unprecedented challenge never faced by B.C.'s health system. The demands placed by COVID-19 have meant decreased productivity in operating rooms, meaning fewer surgical cases can be completed in the same time.

The 30,000 non-urgent elective postponed surgeries, combined with the 24,000 new surgeries are a substantial backlog to address. The impact is greater than anything faced by B.C.'s health system.

The actions taken under the plan will ensure the health system can keep up with demand for new surgeries and clear the existing COVID-19 backlog in the next 17 to 24 months.

 

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