Long wait times for hip replacement

Much has been written about the surgical wait time for hip replacement. My wife is currently one of those going through this process.

Much has been written and discussed recently about the surgical wait time for hip replacement. My wife is currently one of those going through this process.

A factor not often mentioned is the wait time for an appointment with the surgeon who performs the operation. In my wife’s case, she had to wait nine months.

After meeting with the surgeon, we were advised the wait time for the operation would be 18 to 22 months, so in effect the total wait time after the initial diagnosis is more than two years and could be as much as two-and-a-half years.

Because the operation is elective surgery, we do not expect to be treated immediately, but a multi-year wait is excessive, especially in light of the pain and loss of mobility my wife suffers.

On Vancouver Island, where the population is generally older and requires more hip replacements, the total wait time is longer than other regions in B.C. We checked the Health Ministry’s various websites to see if we could travel elsewhere in B.C. to get the surgery sooner.

Some surgery wait times are less, but when you add the wait time to see the specialist, it’s at least 18 months, so we’re no further ahead.

Surgeons are given a certain amount of operating room time and they determine how to use it and who should receive surgery. Therefore the only solution seems to be more operating room time for the surgeons.

The government spends a large percentage of its budget on health care and I don’t believe we can afford any more money for it.

What I think should happen is a re-balancing of operating room time across all the hospitals in B.C. so that the total wait time is fairly even for all hip replacement surgery throughout the province. This rebalancing should reduce the total wait time on the Island.

If you’re waiting for this operation, take the time to talk to your MLA and register your concerns with the Patient Quality Care Office (1-877-977-5797 and the e-mail address is patientcarequalityoffice@viha.ca).

If enough people register their concerns, hopefully we’ll see some improvements in the current wait times.

Ed HollingtonQualicum Beach