Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. says surgical wait list now below pre-pandemic levels

More operating room staff a permanent increase

B.C.’s health ministry currently has about 84,000 people on its waiting lists for non-urgent scheduled surgeries, 10 per cent fewer than last February before COVID-19 pandemic measures put a halt to procedures and began emptying hospital beds.

Health Minister Adrian Dix marked the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of elective surgeries Friday, thanking people who came out of retirement, increased their skills or came to B.C. to tackle the backlog created when more than more than 30,000 scheduled surgeries were postponed last year.

One of those coming out of retirement to led the surgical renewal effort was Michael Marchbank, the former Fraser Health CEO brought in for a year to manage the expansion of B.C.’s surgical capacity. He said the additional surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staff added in the past year represent a permanent expansion of capacity for a hospital system that has struggled to keep up with a growing and aging population.

Surgery contracts with private clinics have also been used in the past year to recover from the pandemic disruption, as new patients continue to be added to B.C.’s health care responsibilities.

RELATED: B.C. surgeries ‘almost back to normal’ by September

RELATED: Operating room hours extended to make up ground

“The 274 surgical specialty nurses who have started their training, and the 172 who have completed training, is a permanent change for the better,” Marchbank said March 19.

Since April 1, 2020, B.C. has hired 44 surgeons, 54 anesthesiologists, 410 perioperative registered nurses, 254 post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses and 346 medical device reprocessing technicians.

B.C. wait times peaked in May 2020, as U.S. hospitals were going over capacity with COVID-19 patients, following earlier pandemic crises in China and northern Italy. Part of Vancouver’s convention centre was prepared to serve as an overflow hospital.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

The clock was removed during renovations to the visitor centre. Photo submitted
A new downtown clock for Princeton will take time

Mayor suggests community fundraising may be an option

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen offices in Penticton. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen showcases local government

The RDOS has put together a video as part of Local Government Awareness Week

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’: Kelowna RCMP

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

A yellow-headed blackbird sits in the marsh at Swan Lake Monday, May 17. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Birds take flight across the Okanagan

Ospreys are spotted above the Rail Trail in Lake Country

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Most Read