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Premier insists dent will be made in backlog

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Manitobans can expect significant progress on the province’s surgical and diagnostic backlog in the coming months, Premier Heather Stefanson said.

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Manitobans can expect significant progress on the province’s surgical and diagnostic backlog in the coming months, Premier Heather Stefanson said.

“We want to ensure that Manitobans get the health care, the surgeries the diagnostic services they need, when they need it,” Stefanson said Wednesday, the final day of the spring legislative session.

“I think we’re going in the right direction,” Stefanson said.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Premier Heather Stefanson: “I think we’re going in the right direction.”

On Tuesday, Doctors Manitoba estimated the surgical and diagnostic backlog to include 166,903 cases, a decrease of about 2,300 cases from last month, signalling a peak in cases accumulated throughout the pandemic.

Stefanson said the province is making progress to whittle down the backlog and deliver health care in a timely way now that the majority of health-care workers have returned to their regular positions.

“I think we’ll make significant headway over the course of the next number of months,” Stefanson said.

In a statement to the Free Press, a government spokesperson said the diagnostic and surgical recovery task force is looking at multiple short-term options to deliver surgeries and tests, including increasing the number of people going out of province for care, to build interim capacity.

“Our government is confident in the work of the (task force) and knows that outcomes are already being achieved,” the statement said. “There are no options that are off the table to reduce the pandemic backlog.”

Meantime, Sanford Health Fargo vice-president of operations Brittany Sachdeva said the North Dakota health system is working toward an agreement with the provincial government to accept Manitobans for orthopedic surgery, including joint replacements.

The provincial government had inked a contract with Sanford Health to provide spinal surgery for Manitobans. As of May 19, 20 people had spine surgery at Sanford and seven were on deck, the province said.

“We continue to work closely with Manitoba clinical leaders and remain committed to providing high-quality specialized care for a select number of patients,” Sachdeva said in a statement.

In a statement to the Free Press, a government spokesperson did not comment specifically on the expanded surgical partnership with Sanford Health.

However, the province acknowledged the diagnostic and surgical recovery task force is looking at “multiple short-term options to deliver surgeries and tests,” including increasing the number of people going out of province for care.

— Staff

History

Updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 7:44 PM CDT: Adds comments from Sanford Health

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