Hip and knee replacement surgeries in Fraser Health Region to increase by 23% in 2018-19

Adrian Dix
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

PEOPLE in the Fraser Health region will have better access to joint replacement surgery, thanks to the Fraser Health hip and knee replacement program, which will increase the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries in the region by 23% in 2018-19.

“We know that when we use the resources in our public health system effectively, we can make our health-care system stronger, and our surgical strategy aims to achieve that,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “By choosing to improve how we schedule and perform hip and knee replacements, as well as how we care for people before and after surgery, we are helping to get people back to their day to day activities.”

As a result of this program, the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries within Fraser Health is expected to increase by approximately 836 in 2018-19. The program started at Burnaby Hospital, and Fraser Health plans to open additional centres later this year.

The Fraser Health hip and knee replacement program is one of five programs the provincial government is implementing throughout the province, as one component of its new four-part surgical strategy. Last month, similar programs were announced at Vancouver General Hospital and for southern Vancouver Island. A program for the North was also launched in Prince George in April.

“We are listening to our patients, who want to feel supported before and after surgery, as it plays an important role in helping people prepare for and recover from their procedures,” said Michael Marchbank, Fraser Health President and CEO. “We have heard from patients that the new arthroplasty centre at Burnaby Hospital has helped them to not only better prepare for their hip or knee surgeries, but also to feel more informed about their options for rehabilitation following their procedures, which is why we look forward to expanding this model to other hospitals in our region.”

Fraser Health’s hip and knee replacement program will also make improvements designed to support increased surgical volumes, reduce wait times and improve continuity of care for patients by co-ordinating all the services a patient requires to prepare for, undergo and recover from surgery. This includes:

* dedicated operating room time;

* pre- and post-surgical support;

* centralized intake;

* standardized assessment;

* access to the first-available surgeon; and

* ongoing program evaluation.

The Fraser Health hip and knee replacement program builds on Burnaby Hospital’s Central Intake and Optimization Clinic for Arthroplasty, which enables booking with the first available surgeon, rather than relying on a traditional referral relationship between a family physician and an orthopedic surgeon. This new approach helps to ensure people have timely access to surgery. The clinic also supports patients with a nurse-liaison throughout each step of the process, to make them aware of options that are available in the community to help them recover more quickly when they return home.

Golf aficionado James Suttie, who recently underwent knee surgery at Burnaby Hospital, attended the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia earlier this month. He walked the full course for the first time since his surgery.

“I have always been an active person, and it was challenging to be sidelined by a knee injury that prevented me from doing the activities I love,” said Suttie. “The new approach to hip and knee surgeries at Burnaby Hospital ensured I was well prepared every step of the way, leading up to and following my procedure. Just a few months after undergoing knee surgery, I am well into my recovery journey, and am already planning a variety of active pursuits later this year.”

As part of the B.C. Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Strategy, Fraser Health will also see a 14% increase in MRI exams, for a total 63,000 in 2018-19. Approximately $11 million in funding is being made available to increase MRI capacity provincewide in the public-health system, and achieve a total of 225,000 MRI exams in 2018-19.

In 2016-17 approximately 14,390 hip and knee surgeries were performed throughout the province and by 2018-19 more than 19,250 will be done. The additional surgeries will mean a 34% increase in hip and knee surgeries. This will significantly reduce the number of patients waiting. As of March 31, 2017, provincewide, 30% of people waiting for hip surgery and 38% of people waiting for knee surgery waited more than 26 weeks.

Under the provincial surgical strategy, which is being supported with ongoing targeted funding of $75 million starting in 2018-19, and increasing to $100 million in 2019-20, approximately 9,400 more publicly funded surgeries will be completed by the end of March 2019.

The strategy will improve timely access to surgery through a more efficient surgical system, and will help the Province catch up and keep up with demand, starting with hip and knee replacement surgery and dental surgery. It will also improve patient experience, by focusing on improving surgical pathways, co-ordination of care and information provided to patients.