B.C. progresses on surgical renewal plan

THE progress made in the early weeks of B.C.’s Surgical Renewal Commitment to patients is continuing, with further gains in getting patients the surgeries they need, the Province said on Tuesday.

“Our first report from May to June showed that we were making steady gains in the surgical renewal plan with a promising trajectory,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This remains true today, despite now facing down an increase in COVID-19 cases. We are almost back to our regular timelines for surgeries, with more British Columbians getting the needed surgeries to resume their lives.”

The monthly progress reports identify achievements in three key components of surgical renewal: focusing on patients; increasing surgeries; and increasing essential personnel. This second report, except where noted, covers June 26 to July 23, and compares it to the same period in 2019.

* By August 23, 2020, an additional 22,645 calls were made to patients to see if they were ready to reschedule their surgery, bringing the number of patients called since May 7 to 85,345.

* Surgeries were delivered to 11,249 (or 66%) of the 17,154 patients who had their surgery postponed.

* The time it takes to perform surgeries is almost back to normal.

* Because of necessary COVID-19 precautions, surgeries are now taking about 2% longer than last year. During the initial COVID-19 response, surgeries were taking 26% longer to complete.

* 904 more surgeries were performed than were performed in the same time frame last year.

* A 6% increase in operating room hours was achieved compared to the same time frame last year.

* There were 25,500 scheduled and unscheduled surgeries completed, a 4% increase over the same time frame last year.

* 7,368 urgent surgeries were completed, a 4% increase over the same time frame last year.

* 2,300 non-urgent surgeries were completed for patients waiting longer than twice their target wait – more than double the number compared to the same time frame last year.

* Hip surgeries increased by 4%, knee surgeries by 4% and dental surgeries by 2%, compared to the same time frame last year.

* Seven additional anesthesiologists and general practitioner anesthesiologists (GPAs) were recruited, bringing the number of recruited since April 1, 2020, to 38 – 33 anesthesiologists and five GPAs.

* An additional 49 perioperative registered nurses, seven perioperative licensed practical nurses, 13 post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses and 24 medical device reprocessing technicians were hired.

* This brings the number of perioperative registered nurses to 160, the number of perioperative licensed practical nurses to 13, the number of post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses to 73 and the number of medical device reprocessing technicians recruited since April 1, 2020, to 59.

* Government is working with staff, unions, and the Health Employers Association of B.C. to determine how best to extend daily, and initiate Saturday and Sunday, operating room hours. These times have historically not been used for scheduled surgeries.

“We recognize that B.C.’s Surgical Renewal Plan is a massive undertaking. Fulfilling our commitment to patients is an all-in effort, and we are working together with everyone in the health-care system to increase surgeries, add staff and operating room hours to get more patients the surgeries they need,” Dix said. “Right now, perhaps more than at any other time in our B.C. pandemic, we’re counting on each other to stop the spread of COVID-19. And the remarkable British Columbians involved in surgical renewal and getting patients the surgeries they need are counting on us to do our work, so they can continue to do theirs.”

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