Knee, hip surgeries not on target: AG
Health Minister Leo Glavine acknowledges Nova Scotia still has the country’s worst wait times for knee and hip surgeries, but says such procedures are quickly being stepped up.
Nova Scotia’s auditor general Michael Pickup said in a report released Wednesday that the Nova Scotia Health Authority has fallen short on two-yearold recommendations on waittime reporting for knee and hip surgeries.
About 90 per cent of Nova Scotia patients receive hip replacements within 750 days, and knee replacements within 800 days, the auditor’s report notes. Nationally, the benchmark is within 182 days.
Glavine said more hip and knee surgeries are being performed each year. The Health Department said the authority is on track to perform 879 longstanding hip and knee surgeries this fiscal year, 265 more than last fiscal year. “We’re getting the long-waiters and acute into surgery much quicker than what we’ve been doing in the past,’’ Glavine said.
The minister acknowledged, however, that it will be “some time’’ before the province will be able to move up from its last-place ranking.
In auditor Pickup’s report Wednesday — a followup tracking the government’s response to recommendations in reports from 2013 and 2014 — he said the authority has only completed two of his seven 2014 recommendations on operating room usage and surgical wait-time reporting.
Glavine said moving to one provincial health authority about two years ago complicated the process of implementing the recommendations.
“As they start year three, this will be a requirement from myself as minister and our government that (the wait-time reporting recommendations) are put in place,’’ said Glavine after a cabinet meeting Wednesday. Glavine said he will meet authority officials soon to discuss implementing the outstanding recommendations.
Pickup said the health authority has yet to give citizens a clear target of how long they must await for the operations, or a monitoring system to indicate how hospitals are performing.
Pickup’s report said auditors had expected to see the health authority produce a timeline for following up on the recommendations.
“Our 2014 audit of surgical waitlist and operating room utilization found that Nova Scotia was not meeting national benchmarks ... which shows the importance of managing waitlists and operating room usage,’’ says the report.
“As they start year three, this will be a requirement from myself as minister and our government that (the wait-time reporting recommendations) are put in place.”
Health Minister Leo Glavine