Arthritis Society responds to Canada’s Premiers’ news conference
Statement from Trish Barbato, President and CEO
We were pleased to hear many premiers highlight the need to address the growing crisis of the increasing wait lists for surgeries across the country during today’s news conference. Wait times for joint replacement surgery were too long before COVID-19 and the pandemic has just exacerbated the problem.
This needs to be a priority for all governments– and Canadians agree. In a recent Angus omnibus poll, 75 per cent of Canadians agreed that federal and provincial governments should make it a priority to reduce wait times for joint replacement surgery.
Arthritis is the leading cause of joint replacement surgery. At the Arthritis Society, we hear regularly from people across the country about their diminished quality of life while waiting for this surgery. They are people like Annie, a Quebec mother of two, who was devasted when her doctor told her she may have to wait two years to have both her hips replaced; or the senior in Ontario whose November knee surgery was canceled and still hasn’t been rescheduled.
Joint pain can be excruciating. It can limit or prohibit the ability to walk and move. It can interrupt sleep and lead to depression and other mental health issues. Surgery delays can also lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart and circulatory issues and other compounding health challenges.
We’re doing what we can to advocate for improved wait times for joint replacement surgery and to support Canadians as they wait for surgery. We strongly believe the patient voice should be part of the discussion and solution. We recently convened a pan-Canadian working group to look at the issue and provide concrete recommendations.
But we need government to make this a priority – the federal, provincial and territorial governments must act now.
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