New data released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) shows Manitoba’s health system continues to deliver comparatively shorter wait times in a number of priority procedures, including MRIs, CT scans and hip fracture repairs, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen said today.
“We are meeting the increasing and sustained demand from an aging population for these priority procedures by performing more of them than ever before, across most categories, with significant increases in the number of MRI and CT scans,” said Friesen. “These numbers will increase again in 2019 due to our recent investment in additional hip, knee and cataract surgeries, as recommended in the Wait Times Reduction Task Force Report.”
Manitoba continues to compare favourably with other provinces in the areas of radiation therapy, hip fracture repair and bypass surgeries. Manitoba also ranks second best in 90th percentile wait times for both MRI and CT scans. Since 2015, department data shows the number of CT scans performed in Manitoba has increased by 26 per cent to nearly 217,000. The number of MRIs, meanwhile, has increased by 29 per cent to nearly 94,000 in the same period.
The increase in MRI volumes, aided by the opening of a new scanner in Selkirk, allowed wait times to improve by 50 per cent in the past 18 months, to 16 weeks from 24 weeks. A new MRI scanner that began operating in Dauphin this past December should continue to reduce wait times, said Friesen.
CIHI’s findings show Manitoba continues to see suboptimal wait times for hip and knee replacement surgeries, as well as cataract surgeries. These are long-standing challenges the government has been addressing, with an additional investment of more than $5.3 million announced last fall to increase the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries performed in 2019 by at least 1,000, the minister said. He noted the additional surgeries represent a nearly 25 per cent uptick from last year.
Similarly, an additional 2,000 cataract surgeries are being performed this year as part of that funding, a 16 per cent increase from 2018.
These improvements are further aided by medical innovations to stretch the dollar including the opening of a hip and knee clinic to reduce the number of people referred for surgery, the introduction of same-day hip surgery and the introduction of more efficient cataract surgeries to patients who meet the clinical criteria.
“We know that Manitoba has lagged behind other jurisdictions in a variety of health indicators for a long, long time,” said Friesen. “While previous governments have been satisfied with the status quo, we are not. This is why we are building a better co-ordinated, patient-centred health-care system that Manitobans deserve. Our recent reinvestments in priority procedures are evidence that our plan is working.”