The seven medical specialists in the orthopedic unit informed their colleagues of this change in a letter, sent internally last Friday and of which Radio-Canada Acadie obtained a copy.
We are unable to provide care to new patients while continuing to provide appropriate and timely care to our current patientsthey say.
Orthopedists say they can’t meet national benchmarks for wait times. They claim that this is due to
resource constraints. Constraints that are daily and beyond their control, they say.
Wait more than 2 years
They report that the wait time for joint replacement operations – for example knee and hip replacement – is over 860 days, almost five times the national standard of 182 days.
The signatories to the letter say they will continue to provide urgent care and monitor their current patients. They say they will start accepting non-emergency referrals again when they have the resources.
They also note that physicians can always refer their patients to orthopedic surgeons in other hospitals in the province.
According to data from the Department of Health – which covers the period from January to March 2022 – The Moncton Hospital had the highest wait times for hip and knee replacements.
The ministry reports that 9 out of 10 surgeries were completed in 853 days. The provincial average was 563 days.
Provincially, from January to March, 48% of surgeries were completed within the national benchmark of 182 days.
The number of operations performed in the past year has dropped significantly over the past year.
For example, there were 604 knee replacements and 328 hip replacements from January to March 2021. During the same period in 2022, there were 260 knee replacements and 180 hip replacements.
Hundreds of patients waiting in the province
According to the Ministry of Health, as of June 3, the number of patients waiting for hip or knee surgery was around 625, compared to 669 in October 2020.
The ministry says it is aware the province has fallen behind the national standard.
New Brunswick had reduced the waiting list of patients waiting more than a year for this kind of surgery by 50% in June 2021. The department says cancellations of surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused these delays.
Gains are expected to be made again as surgical capacity begins to increase for hip and knee surgeriessaid a spokeswoman for the ministry by email.
New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says she will
comply with the Provincial Health Planwhich emphasizes
improving wait times.
The ministry continues to work with regional health authorities, who are responsible for service deliveryshe said, in a written statement.