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Arthritis Society responds to Ontario budget

Statement from Trish Barbato, President and CEO 

We’re pleased today’s provincial budget reiterates the Ontario government’s commitment to help address the surgical backlog, including joint replacement surgery, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Arthritis is the leading cause of joint replacement surgery, which is often referred to as elective surgery. At the Arthritis Society, we hear from people living with arthritis in Ontario, and across the country, about their diminished quality of life while waiting for this surgery. For those in need, there’s nothing “elective” about it.  

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.  

According to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sarah Ward, some patients waiting for hip and knee replacement surgeries consider their quality of life to be “worse than death.” It’s almost impossible to imagine. 

We encourage the Ontario government to work with all stakeholders, including the Arthritis Society, to develop and implement a plan to reduce wait times so that Ontarians can get back the mobility and quality of life they deserve. 

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