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Health and Community Services
February 22, 2012

Budget 2012 Investments Will Reduce Joint Replacement Surgery Wait Times

Access to orthopedic surgical services throughout the province will be further improved with the release of the Provincial Government’s Strategy to Reduce Hip and Knee Joint Replacement Surgery Wait Times. Budget 2012 will allocate $1.4 million for an initial investment in this five-year strategy that will enhance resources dedicated to hip and knee joint replacement surgeries and reduce the current backlog of patients waiting for these surgeries.

“This strategy reflects our Blue Book promise and solidifies our commitment to providing efficient and quality health care services to patients throughout the province,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “Our strategy focuses on goals and actions that will reduce wait times for hip and knee joint replacement surgeries and improve efficiencies within health care facilities that provide these surgeries. This strategy and the actions that will be implemented will benefit health care consumers and serve as a guide for health care providers throughout the province.”

The strategy has five goals to help reduce wait times:

“Reducing wait times to within acceptable limits remains one of our government’s highest priorities,” said Minister Sullivan. “Through our investments over the last six years we have been able to increase the total number of hip and knee joint replacement surgeries by over 30 per cent. To further that commitment, we are investing significantly this year to ensure more people have efficient access to these surgeries.”

The Provincial Government will make the following individual investments in Budget 2012 as part of the strategy:

A national benchmark of 182 days was set for patients to receive surgery for hip and knee joint replacement and in 2010, the province completed 75 per cent of hip joint replacement surgeries and 67 per cent of knee joint replacement surgeries within that benchmark. The province continues to perform well in meeting national benchmarks in most of the five priority areas, including radiation therapy, cardiac bypass surgery, cataract surgery and screening diagnostics.

“We have a responsibility to ensure our health care system is sustainable while continuing to focus on what is needed and important,” said Minister Sullivan. “We recognize that there is a need to improve wait times for hip and knee joint replacement surgeries. Our strategy sets out a course that builds on work we have already completed and incorporates best practices to ensure we meet the national benchmarks set for hip and knee joint replacement surgery in our province.”

Improving access to the health care system is a priority for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This strategy is the result of that commitment and furthers the over $140 million the Provincial Government has invested over the past eight years to improve wait times throughout the province.

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Media contact:
Jennifer Tulk
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 699-6524

2012 02 22             9:25 a.m.

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