Surgical backlog in Windsor below pre-pandemic levels

Windsor Regional Hospital is slowly chipping away at the backlog of non-urgent surgeries.

According to the hospital, as of May 19, there are 4,020 people on the wait list. In November 2019, the wait list had 6,370 patients on it.

Hospital officials say they’ve achieved the improvements from various measures, including consolidating fracture and urology clinics to one site, moving cases where appropriate into the community, reducing hospital stays and prioritizing patients who are over the targeted wait time benchmark.

However, across Ontario, the surgical backlog is rising.

According to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), there are currently 22 million services on the wait list. They say that number grew by one million procedures in the last three months alone.

Windsor physician Dr. Albert Ng says the key to clearing the backlog, province-wide isn’t necessarily spending more money.

Ng says the entire healthcare system needs to be reevaluated.

“We need to transform the system and look at how we do things and what maybe works okay but what could work better,” says Ng.

Ng and the OMA hope electors will vote for the candidate they believe will focus their efforts on healthcare, once elected.

“I think we just need to be vocal about what our needs are here,” says Ng. “We have to make sure that Queen’s Park is aware of the needs of this region and to you know, just get their attention.”

CTV News looked at each of the four main parties, running in the provincial election, to see if their platform includes a focus on surgical wait times.

  Conservative: (from Spring Budget)  

To increase capacity and to build a strong and resilient health care system, the government is investing $300 million in 2022–23 as part of the province’s Surgical Recovery Strategy, bringing the total investment to roughly $880 million since the start of the pandemic.

The Surgical Recovery Strategy will increase scheduled surgeries, procedures and appropriate diagnostic imaging services with a focus on areas with the greatest reduction in services due to the pandemic. This strategy will also provide funding to hospitals for innovative solutions to address local needs and increase surgeries across the province. This investment will also support over 150,000 additional hours of MRI and CT diagnostic imaging scans.

Green platform:

Increase year-over-year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of 5 per cent.

• Work with the federal government to pro- vide surge funding to reduce the backlog in surgeries, imaging, and other services.

• Invest in new and expanded hospitals as needed to meet demand in high

Liberal platform:

If you’re waiting for a surgery or diagnostic procedure, you’re not alone. Millions have had their appointments delayed. While the Conservatives call on for-profit private hospitals to address these backlogs, we’ll

clear the waitlists with a $1 billion investment in public healthcare – empowering hospitals to operate significantly above pre-pandemic volumes, including into evenings and weekends. We’ll also establish maximum wait times for surgeries and return to pre-pandemic wait times by the end of 2022.

NDP platform:

Invest to eliminate the backlog: We’ll identify and publicize the number of delayed procedures and publish regular progress reports. We’ll expand operating room hours over the evenings and weekends to increase hospital capacity, engage in a health care worker hiring blitz, and create a centralized referral system. We’ll make sure this gets done without privatizing our health care system.