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Around half of knee, hip replacements in Manitoba performed within benchmark time

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Manitoba continues to lag behind most provinces in performing timely knee and hip replacements but is among the quickest in repairing hip fractures.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released the latest national comparisons this afternoon.

Manitoba performed only 56 per cent of hip replacements and 46 per cent of knee replacements within the benchmark six-month period last year. That compares with the national average of 80 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.

For hip fracture repair, Manitoba did better, with 86 per cent of procedures done within the benchmark 48 hours. Across Canada, 81 per cent of hip fracture repairs were done within the benchmark.

CIHI said waits for joint replacement surgery vary greatly among provinces. More than half of them — including Manitoba — saw a reduction in the percentage of procedures meeting the benchmark time frames over a three year period.

The number of hip and knee replacements performed in Canada increased by 15 per cent between 2010 and 2012, costing the health care system more than $100 million.

Progressive Conservative health critic Cameron Friesen said the Selinger government has failed to correct a troubling trend.

"We have some of the longest waits in the country and despite promises to do better the NDP government has been all talk and no action," he said. "These types of surgeries matter to mobility and mobility matters to health."

Last week, Health Minister Theresa Oswald said that the province had cut waits for hip and knee replacements by 40 per cent over the last two years thanks to increased surgical capacity and a more streamlined system.

She said those needing non-emergency orthopedic surgery are now receiving them within the medically recommended benchmark — if they are willing to go to the first available surgeon.

Oswald said only 1,200 Manitobans are now awaiting non-emergency knee and hip replacement surgery, compared with 2,000 two years ago.

She said more than 3,600 replacement surgeries were performed in Manitoba last year — more than twice the number performed in 2004.

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