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Medical procedure backlog hits 20,000 in Ottawa

The Ottawa Hospital says its care teams continue to work with patients to monitor their health conditions, and adjust surgery timing as needed.
2018-02-28 Ottawa General Hospital3 MV
The Ottawa General Hospital, February 28, 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ CityNews

The number of patients waiting for surgeries in Canada's capital is up past 20,000, according to the Ottawa Hospital.

Ottawa's three adult hospitals have been postponing non-urgent surgeries and services, due to a directive from Public Health Ontario.

"The types of surgeries that have been postponed cover a wide range of care areas," the hospital says, "including but not limited to areas such as orthopedic, eye, and general surgery."

All urgent, emergency, and time-sensitive surgeries have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A statement from The Ottawa Hospital explains, the procedures that have been postponed were "selected on a set of clear criteria to carefully consider the health-care needs of patients while maintaining their safety."

Care teams continue to work with patients to monitor their health conditions, and adjust surgery timing as needed.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) said on Wednesday, June 9, The COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of almost 16-million health-care services, or more than one for every Ontario resident, according to new estimates taken from OHIP data.

The OMA compared OHIP billings for six procedures in 2020 and the same period in 2021, and found the estimated backlog was greatest for MRIs (477,301), followed by CT scans (269,683), cataract surgery (90,136), knee (38,263) and hip (16,506) replacements and coronary artery bypass grafts (3,163).

"Three serious waves of infections have created a lengthy backlog of surgeries, diagnostic exams and other health-care procedures," OMA President Dr. Adam Kassam said. "We have also heard from community-based family doctors and specialists, who are reporting conditions that were left undiagnosed during the pandemic as patients avoided seeking help. Some conditions have grown more serious as non-COVID patients waited longer for treatment."

The OMA said the pandemic backlog is more pronounced in community settings over hospitals, suggesting that while Ontarians have been actively getting their COVID vaccinations they have been deferring visits with their family doctors where they could have been screened and treated for chronic conditions.

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