Assuming doctors worked 120 percent more hours than before the COVID-19 pandemic, which Dr. Adam Kassam, president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) called ‘unsustainable,’ the estimated time to catch up. day with the most common medical procedures. it would still be up to two years.
“Using that rate, we know that there are 30 months of waiting time for knee replacements, it is 20 months for a hip replacement, it is 25 months for cataract surgery. So we’re talking months and years for Ontario patients, ”Kassam said.
“Our numbers at the moment are quite staggering,” he added.
Elective surgeries were canceled at the start of the pandemic and during the third wave, leaving healthcare workers now struggling to find ways to be creative and innovative as their goal is to get them back on track.
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“Before COVID we had this vision of having hip and knee surgeries on the same day and once you have that as your focus… then you think about what are all the things we have to do? Blood conservation strategies and pain management are the big two and then physical therapy to wake patients up on the day of surgery, ”said Dr. Stephen Halman, Chief of Surgery at Humber River Hospital.
Halman may recall a time not long ago when non-emergency surgeries were stopped and attention turned to the intensive care unit and the growing number of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
“We were a tight-knit group every morning meeting to go over the list and make sure we optimized each operating room we had, the hospital beds that were still available in surgery were used to their maximum capacity and we worked with everyone, the nurses, the staff. In the office, everyone worked very hard to make sure we kept up the volume of urgent surgeries, ”he recalled.
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The OMA found that the pandemic created a staggering backlog of nearly 20 million health care services, including doctor visits, diagnostic tests, treatments and surgeries.
The order book is based on OHIP data from March 2020 to September 2021.
“That hip or knee replacement from someone who was late, it’s someone’s cataract surgery who was late, it’s the colonoscopy, the mammogram, a cancer screening and diagnostic care from someone who was late. So this is a major concern in the profession and for patients, ”Kassam said.
The WCO recently unveiled a plan to address the delay and improve medical care in the province.
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“There are many areas where we believe that collaboration and cooperation can really help. So first and foremost health care is a team sport and we have been asking for increased funding not only from the provincial government, but also from the federal government to address the backlog of services, ”Kassam said.
At Humber River Hospital, in the OB / GYN department, one way the team has addressed the delay is by creating an outpatient hysteroscopy clinic.
“The waiting times to enter the clinic are much shorter … your recovery is also faster, so probably within an hour or an hour and a half, you will be back home and go back to your normal activities.,”Explained Dr. André Laroche, chief of obstetrics and gynecology and medical director of the Maternal and Child Program.
“A hysteroscopy is looking inside a uterus with a small camera … What it allows us to do is diagnose and treat certain medical conditions that cause abnormal uterine bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, or infertility.,Laroche said.
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For patient Ioana Caracas-Lupu, the clinic helped her perform the procedure in a timely manner and, most importantly, get the answers she needed.
“It was nice to see that they could see me quickly because I had trouble even finding a gynecologist for about a year and having to suffer from symptoms is definitely not okay,” she said.
Halman called COVID-19 “the great accelerator,” noting that the pandemic has forced healthcare leaders to find ways to do things that they hadn’t been able to accomplish before.
“We have been able to be much more efficient and go back to where we were still without opening all our rooms and we have not reached that point yet. January will probably take us to 100 percent of where we were before COVID. But then, at that point, we’ll probably be able to get closer to 110-120 percent of where we were, ”he said.
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