Alberta Health Redirects Thousands of Orthopedic Surgeries to Independent Clinics to Address Backlog | TBEN news

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Alberta Health says it will outsource thousands of orthopedic surgeries to chartered surgical facilities in Calgary.

Health Secretary Jason Copping says more than 3,000 government-funded hip and knee surgeries will be performed at Canadian Surgery Solutions, an independent healthcare facility.

He says that is in addition to the surgeries already being performed in Calgary hospitals.

“Albertans, many of whom are in pain, are waiting too long for life-changing knee and hip surgery in Calgary,” Copping said.

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“Our healthcare action plan will accelerate the addition of more surgeries, both in Alberta hospitals and chartered surgical facilities to reduce wait times to those recommended by medical experts.”

The county said there are about 6,000 people waiting for orthopedic surgeries in Calgary.

More than half of them wait longer than the clinically appropriate time for knee and hip replacements. The contract announced Monday will increase orthopedic procedures in the Calgary region by 21 percent compared to 2021-22, Alberta Health said in a statement.

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The opposition NDP says the United Conservative government’s plan extends surgical privatization.

David Shepherd, health critic for the NDP, says it will cause lasting damage to Alberta’s public health care system and ultimately lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for Albertans.

He says it also takes staff and resources away from the public system, which is already suffering from staff shortages.

Alberta Health Secretary Jason Copping is making an announcement Monday regarding the plan to provide more government-funded orthopedic surgeries in chartered surgical facilities in Calgary. (TBEN)

Copping disagreed, saying they are contracting additional resources to build the system.

“This is no different than going to your GP,” he said. “That’s paid for through our health care system and it’s a private company.”

The government said several actions are underway to increase surgical capacity in hospitals, including extending operating room hours in the operating room.

They are also adding new operating rooms to hospitals across the province, including in Calgary, Edmonton, Edson, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Rocky Mountain House.

Moving more orthopedic surgeries and procedures to chartered surgical facilities frees up operating room space in hospitals to perform more complex surgeries, the government said.