Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Sterile instruments at the Cambie Surgery Centre, one of the private clinics contracted to help B.C.’s health ministry catch up on surgeries cancelled due to COVID-19 public health measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. says surgical wait list now below pre-pandemic levels

More operating room staff a permanent increase

B.C.’s health ministry currently has about 84,000 people on its waiting lists for non-urgent scheduled surgeries, 10 per cent fewer than last February before COVID-19 pandemic measures put a halt to procedures and began emptying hospital beds.

Health Minister Adrian Dix marked the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of elective surgeries Friday, thanking people who came out of retirement, increased their skills or came to B.C. to tackle the backlog created when more than more than 30,000 scheduled surgeries were postponed last year.

One of those coming out of retirement to led the surgical renewal effort was Michael Marchbank, the former Fraser Health CEO brought in for a year to manage the expansion of B.C.’s surgical capacity. He said the additional surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staff added in the past year represent a permanent expansion of capacity for a hospital system that has struggled to keep up with a growing and aging population.

Surgery contracts with private clinics have also been used in the past year to recover from the pandemic disruption, as new patients continue to be added to B.C.’s health care responsibilities.

RELATED: B.C. surgeries ‘almost back to normal’ by September

RELATED: Operating room hours extended to make up ground

“The 274 surgical specialty nurses who have started their training, and the 172 who have completed training, is a permanent change for the better,” Marchbank said March 19.

Since April 1, 2020, B.C. has hired 44 surgeons, 54 anesthesiologists, 410 perioperative registered nurses, 254 post-anesthetic recovery registered nurses and 346 medical device reprocessing technicians.

B.C. wait times peaked in May 2020, as U.S. hospitals were going over capacity with COVID-19 patients, following earlier pandemic crises in China and northern Italy. Part of Vancouver’s convention centre was prepared to serve as an overflow hospital.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society communications officer Brianna van de Wijngaard reflects on World Water Day March 22. (Photo submitted)
DOWN TO EARTH: World Water Day means something different for everyone

This year’s World Water Day theme was Valuing Water

Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis (from left), Jeremy Stoward of New Path Forestry, WLCC Boitanio Bike Park director Andrew Hutchinson accept a cheque from Williams Lake and District Credit Union investment specialist Abigail King. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Cycling Club gets bike park donation to bolster upgrades, maintenance

Plans are to complete three rideable lines each year, he added

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File photo)
FOREST INK: Credit, COVID and climate crises facing the world

Concerning COVID, Mr. Carney feels we have had the proper response by showing solidarity

Columnist David Zirnhelt’s grandsons practice some fun roping on his granddaughter at the family ranch. (David ZIrnhelt photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
RANCH MUSINGS: Roping, is that an essential skill for a ranch hand?

We all know someone who has had a digit reducing accident while roping

School District board members discuss business at a regular board meeting prior to the pandemic. (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune file photo)
Ministry of Education gives special shout out to School District 27 at start of Education Week

District board and administration recognized for creating outdoor learning spaces

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read