Manitoba establishes task force to deal with diagnostic and surgical backlogs

The Manitoba government is establishing a task force that will help address the province’s diagnostic and surgical backlogs.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon made the announcement at a news conference on Wednesday, saying the task force will identify the priority of needs of patients and implement local and out-of-province services as a temporary measure.

The task force includes health-care professional and experts from across the country, who have already started working to implement solutions to deal with wait lists.

The province said these solutions include:

  • Creating a centralized information management system for health-care providers that will include surgical and diagnostic wait list information to streamline when and where surgeries and tests can be done;
  • Ensuring health-care professionals are working to the full scope of their practice;
  • Providing monthly updates to ensure Manitobans receive timely, consistent and transparent information;
  • Negotiating agreements with specialized health-care providers both inside and outside of the province who can increase the number of surgeries and services performed; and
  • Finding patients who are ready for their procedures and can travel to other jurisdictions where it could be performed sooner.

According to the province, the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force will include people with expertise in surgical and diagnostic services, analysis and evaluation, and project management.

Manitoba has also established a steering committee to determine the direction of the task force and to help access expertise in the health-care system. The steering committee includes doctors, nurses, and patient and citizen representatives.

Gordon noted that Dr. Peter MacDonald, a surgeon, past president of the Canadian Orthopedics Association, vice-president of the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, and chief innovation and research officer of the Pan Am Clinic, will be the chair of the task force.

In the New Year, the task force will release an initial report with analysis of the current situation, a summary of progress to date, and how success will be measured.

As of Tuesday, Doctors Manitoba estimated the province’s surgical and diagnostic backlog has grown to 152,000 cases.  

This is a developing story. More details to come.

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