Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Fraser Health patients to see 23% more knee, hip replacement surgeries

First-available surgeon approach will reduce waitlists, B.C. health minister says

Fraser Health patients will now have access to the first-available surgeon and a streamline intake system as part of the province’s four-part surgical strategy.

According to health minister Adrian Dix, the region’s surgeons will perform 23 per cent more knee and hip replacements in 2018-19 than they did last year.

“This plan builds on the work at the central intake optimization centre for arthroplasty at Burnaby General Hospital,” said Dix at a press conference Sunday.

“This year… we’ll do 4,431 hip and knee operations, an increase of more than 1,000 over [last year].”

Across B.C., 70 per cent of hip surgery patients and 62 per cent of knee surgery patients waited less than the target 26 weeks.

Sunday’s announcement come as part of a province-wide $175-million funding injection announced by Premier John Horgan in March. ‘

It will follow on the heels of increased MRI access announced by Dix earlier this month.

The Burnaby Hospital will act as Fraser Health’s hip and knee replacement surgery centre, similar to those established at Vancouver General Hospital, Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria and in Prince George.

Regional medical director and head of surgery Dr. Ralph Belle said his centre’s approach allows patients to see an orthopaedic surgeon for a consultation much quicker than before.

“It really comes just after the triage process,” Belle said.

He said that patients at the Burnaby Hospital clinic who come in asking about surgery get an information packet to take home and a follow-up call with a nurse to determine if that surgical consultation is needed.

If an orthopaedic decides that surgery is necessary, patients then attend a class led by an occupational therapist to better prepare them for the upcoming procedure.

Patients stay with the same nurse practitioner the whole time, Belle said, leading to a smoother, less confusing process.


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