More than a third of backlogged elective surgeries completed in Interior Health, up to two-year wait for others | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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More than a third of backlogged elective surgeries completed in Interior Health, up to two-year wait for others

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
June 09, 2020 - 7:00 AM

For those who had elective surgeries postponed due to COVID-19, they may have to wait up to two years to get their rescheduled appointment.

Susan Duncan, a communications officer with Interior Health Authority, says although there is no set timeline they are hopeful to have all elective surgeries completed within 24 months, given there are no further unforeseen circumstances.

Between mid-March to mid-May, Duncan says nearly 3,050 elective surgeries were postponed in Interior Health, compared to 30,000 for the rest of the province.

Duncan says there have already been 1,138 elective surgeries completed between May 19 to 31 in the region. In addition, she says nearly 6,000 individuals in the region have been contacted to determine their readiness for various surgical procedures, although the number of elective surgeries being scheduled changes daily.

READ MORE: Interior Health prepares to resume elective surgeries as COVID-19 patients decrease

Some examples of elective surgeries include hip or knee replacements and cataract removal. Although these types of surgeries are not particularly urgent in nature, Duncan recognizes the importance to those affected.

“The decision to postpone non-urgent services were not made lightly, and the (Interior Health) teams worked very hard to ensure access for those patients who most urgently needed access to surgery. We understand the hardship this placed on many people, particularly those who are facing increased wait times and may have experienced a worsening of pain or symptoms,” Duncan says in an email statement to

Duncan says the operating room booking clerks have been calling patients to assess their health status and determine if they are willing and able to move forward with surgery. For those who want to further postpone re-scheduled surgeries, they will not lose their place on the waitlist.

“We are continuing to assess opportunities to expand capacity over the coming months to ensure individuals who need surgery get it as quickly as possible. This plan is dependent on factors such as the adequate supply of personal protective equipment, full commitment of all partners, and monitoring of a possible resurgence of COVID-19,” Duncan said in the emailed statement.

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