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Arthritis Society statement in response to New Brunswick budget 

Jone Mitchell 
Executive Director, Atlantic Region 

We’re pleased today’s provincial budget recognizes the need for a plan to ensure patients have consistent and timely access to quality healthcare. We strongly believe the patient voice should be a part of that planning.  

Of particular concern to the arthritis community is timely access to joint replacement surgery. Even before COVID, many people were having to wait too long for life-changing hip and knee replacements.  The pandemic has just exacerbated the problem.   

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. 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.   

This needs to be a priority for all governments – and Canadians agree. In a recent Angus omnibus poll, 80 per cent of Atlantic Canadians agreed that provincial and federal governments should make it a priority to reduce wait times for joint replacement surgery.  

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 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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