March of Dimes offers alternative to long wait times in northern Ontario

The March of Dimes is working to reduce wait times for specific medical surgeries in northeastern Ontario.

Doctors able to see patients in Cochrane and Kirkland Lake

If you've ever been referred to a specialist, you likely know how long the wait can be for treatment.

The March of Dimes is working to reduce wait times for specific medical surgeries in northeastern Ontario.

The organization is holding regular assessment and follow up clinics for patients from smaller communities in the region.

Annie Janson, the supervisor of the Northern Medical Clinics, says specialists from Toronto regularly visit their locations in Cochrane and Kirkland Lake.

The doctors cover a variety of specialities, including sports medicine, hips and knees, spines, upper extremities, foot and ankle, osteoporosis and pediatric orthopedics.

Janson says bringing the specialist to the region reduces the wait times for surgery.

"We just kind of want to compliment what we already have in the north," she explained.

"Sometimes, for example, hand and wrist it's really specialist area of care. So we do save the patients the trips to go see the surgeon in Toronto for the initial consult and subsequent follow ups."

She says patients are still required to travel for their surgeries.

"So it just depends on the area of care." Janson said.

"Sometimes these surgeries that are done in Toronto can be done...they'll concentrate on the more complex surgeries that they can do say at our hub hospital in Timmins. Again we want to complement what we already have up here, and just kind of address service gaps."

Janson says patients only wait a couple of weeks for surgery set up through the northern medical clinics, while the provincial average for hip and knee surgery, for example, can be a two year wait.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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