Diagnosis for sleep disorders, osteoporosis, and many other conditions are on the back burner, firing up tipping point concerns for Manitoban doctors.
The president of Doctors Manitoba says in November, case backlogs and tests grew by more than 100 cases every day. Now, he says 152,116 diagnostic tests and surgeries are postponed.
"Our health system is again at a tipping point."
Kristjan Thompson says more than 42,000 diagnostic imaging procedures and more than 56,000 surgeries make up roughly two-thirds of the backlog.
"Physicians continue to be very concerned, especially as we see cardiac surgeries cancelled due to the strain on our healthcare system from the fourth wave. Making these patients wait and delaying their definitive care suggests that our health system is again at a tipping point," Thompson says.
The organization is tracking the backlogs using public data.
"Patients need hope."
A provincial task force was announced by Premier Heather Stefanson as part of her recent speech from the throne. Thomson says they are looking forward to hearing more about this.
“This backlog is such a massive issue that a task force charged with addressing it must be action-oriented, with a clear mandate, requisite authority, and members that possess the right expertise and experience. We will be watching closely for the task force’s membership and mandate, and we are hoping to also hear a commitment to monthly reporting and to set a target date to clear this backlog. Patients need hope, and they need to know that help is on the way.”
Doctors Manitoba does not know when they will recover.
Director of Strategy and Communications Keir Johnson says in an email that British Columbia announced a surgical renewal plan after the first COVID-19 wave, completing the 18-month plan ahead of schedule by six months. Manitoba, however, is a different situation.
"We're in a much more dire situation in Manitoba. We've asked the government to create the task force and to set a target date to clear the backlog. Hopefully, that will be revealed tomorrow," Johnson says.