As the Nova Scotia election looms, a Dartmouth man is calling on all three parties to be honest about wait times for knee replacement surgery.

Frank MacCormick

Frank MacCormick is one of almost 2,400 Nova Scotians waiting for knee replacement surgery. (CBC)

Frank MacCormick is one of almost 2,400 Nova Scotians waiting for knee replacement surgery.

He said he’s been waiting almost two years for his operation. That’s why the 68-year-old said he was surprised to see the province's claims about knee replacement surgery wait times.

The NDP said Nova Scotians wait an average of 10 months for knee replacement, but MacCormick has already been waiting twice that long with no surgery date in sight.

“I think you need to be truthful with electors and patients like myself,” he said.

McCormick said he's not in agonizing pain, but his knee acts up the more he uses it.

“The timely replacement of the knee would really make a big difference for me,” he said.

By the numbers:

As of Oct. 3, 2013 there are:

  • 949 hip replacement patients
  • 2,381 knee replacement patients waiting for surgery

-Department of Health and Wellness

MacCormick said he isn't trying to jump the queue, but he wonders why is surgery has been repeatedly delayed.

“Initially they indicated it would probably be about a year. Then subsequently it became 18 months and two weeks ago I talked to my orthopedic surgeon's receptionist and she said, ‘Well it looks like 28 to 30 months now,’” he said.


"I do want to acknowledge that there are many people who are in worse shape than I am and who need it more seriously…I certainly don't want to break line, but there has to be a line somewhere."

The Nova Scotia Department of Health said the wait time for a consult begins on the date the referral is received by the specialist to the date the specialist sees the patient.

The wait time for surgery starts on the day the booking form is received at the hospital.

Willing to travel

MacCormick said if people were given realistic wait times, some might make different decisions.

“If it's going to take 600 days or 700 days or 800 days maybe some of us will find other ways of getting it done,” he said.

“It’s sort of pay now or pay more later situation because the longer we wait the more we deteriorate physically and the more we're inclined to have other kinds of illnesses and the more we're going to cost the health-care system.”

Last week, the NDP government approved another $2 million to shorten orthopedic wait times in the province.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Dunbar said the money is appreciated, but the system needs to be redesigned.

Dunbar added that with an aging population, the situation isn’t likely to improve.