Nova Scotia aims to cut wait times for knee, hip replacements to six months

Nova Scotia is moving to significantly cut wait times for hip and knee replacements as it strives to meet the national standard over the next four years, or possibly earlier.

Health Minister Randy Delorey says a $6.4 million commitment will allow an additional 500 people to get surgeries this year.

He says the funding will be used to hire four surgeons and four anaesthetists, purchase new equipment and hire support staff.

Dr. Eric Howatt, senior medical director of perioperative services for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, says the plan will also see surgeons work longer hours and weekends to help clear the backlog.

Howatt says he believes the push will enable the province to reach the national standard of a six-month wait for surgeries by April 2020.

Currently there are about 3,600 patients on the list for hip and knee replacements, with wait times for hip replacements around 620 days and knees 737 days.