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Arthritis Society statement in response to Newfoundland budget

Jone Mitchell  
Executive Director, Atlantic Region     

We’re pleased to see the government highlight in yesterday’s budget its commitment to supporting the delivery of a 10-year Health Accord to meet the health-care needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. 

The Arthritis Society has provided input into  Health Accord NL which will include short-, medium- and long-term goals for the health-care system. Ensuring the 120,000 people in Newfoundland and Labrador living with arthritis have access to the quality care and treatments they need must be a priority. 

We are disappointed the budget didn’t mention a specific investment to improve wait times for joint replacement surgeries in the province.  

Even before COVID, surgical wait times were not within the recommended six-month benchmark – particularly in the eastern part of the province. 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.       

We’re working hard to advocate for improved wait times for joint replacement surgery and to support Canadians as they wait for these necessary procedures. We recently convened a pan-Canadian working group to comprehensively examine the issue and provide concrete recommendations.       

But we need governments to make this a priority – federal, provincial and territorial governments must act now.     

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