Manitoba

Surgeries at Manitoba hospitals slowly returning to pre-pandemic volumes: backlog task force

The number of surgeries and diagnostic procedures done each week at Manitoba hospitals is gradually rising to pre-pandemic levels, says the latest update from the province’s task force created to solve a massive diagnostic and surgical backlog.

More surgical slates expected to open up as staff return to non-COVID duties, report says

The number of surgical slates running at Manitoba hospitals is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels, says an update from the province's task force dedicated to resolving a massive backlog of non-emergency surgeries. (StockLeb/Shutterstock)

The number of surgeries and diagnostic procedures done each week at Manitoba hospitals is gradually rising to pre-pandemic levels, says the latest update from the province's task force created to solve a massive diagnostic and surgical backlog.

The report also shows some improvements in wait lists for diagnostic tests since December. 

The update comes two weeks after Doctors Manitoba said the backlog for surgical and diagnostic procedures had grown to 161,585 cases, up 7,748 from the month before. 

The report from the task force suggests declining COVID-19 hospitalizations have opened up more room for surgeries and other procedures in recent weeks. 

The Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba's largest hospital, was operating 12 to 13 surgical slates the week of Feb. 7, up from seven to 10 surgical slates during the week of Jan. 3. 

Concordia Hospital has been running surgeries at full capacity, and all cardiac surgery slates at St. Boniface General Hospital has been running since Jan. 31, the report says. 

In addition, the Brandon Regional Health Centre has also returned to pre-COVID monthly surgical and endoscopy volumes.

Moving forward, two surgical slates and one endoscopy room will go back into operation in Winnipeg hospitals the week of March 7, while surgeries are also expected to ramp up at health-care facilities in the Southern Health region as well. 

By mid-March, the task force says it's expected many health-care facilities in Manitoba will be performing the same number of surgeries they did pre-pandemic as staff begin to return from caring for COVID-19 patients to their regular assignments.

When it comes to diagnostic testing:

  • The wait list for CT scans has gone from 19,493 in December 2021 to 17,241 as of Jan. 31, representing a 12 per cent decrease
  • The wait list for ultrasounds has gone from 24,392 in December 2021 to 20,461 as of Jan. 31, representing a 16 per cent decrease
  • The wait list for MRIs has gone from 16,994 in December 2021 to 14,780 as of Jan. 31, representing a 13 per cent decrease

In addition, the task force says spinal surgeries have begun at Sanford Health in Fargo, N.D., as part of an agreement that was announced in January.

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