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Prevention to reduce the number of hip and knee replacement surgeries - the Minister of Health is missing in action.


On October 2, in Health Estimates I asked the Minister of Health what is government is doing to reduce the number of knee and hip surgeries needed.  Sadly, he completely failed to answer my question but rambled on about other matters.   It is time we start paying attention to preventing sickness, to helping people keep healthier and to reducing sickness.  Reducing the number of hip and knee surgeries is an example.  Clearly, in this area of prevention, the Minister of Health is missing in action. 

Mr. Gerrard: 
      One of the things that we need to do is much more effectively prevent issues. We do a lot–for example–of hip and knee replacements in Manitoba, and one of the things that clearly needs to be done is to make sure that we are doing everything that can be done to reduce the number of knees and hips that need replacing.
      What is the minister doing in this respect in terms of prevention?
Mr. Friesen: New data, of course, as we've shared in the House, continues to show that our government has been leading and that compared to other jurisdictions, Manitoba is seeing shorter wait times in areas of priority procedures.
      We were proud to undertake substantive effort to task a special group with the development of a plan for priority procedures wait times reductions in Manitoba.
      We were proud of the ability to find savings within the health-care system, which we used to purchase an additional 1,000 hips and knees last year in the health-care system, as well as 2,000 cataracts. I have personally spoken to some of the people who were on those longer waiting lists–lines, who thanked our government for its additional investment in these areas that need the investment.
      Also, the member will know that through the campaign, we committed to renew that commitment on 1,000 hips and knees and 2,000 cataracts on an ongoing basis for the next fiscal year.
      In addition to that, we know that we are performing more procedures in the system itself. As a matter of fact, I can tell you that even in the last year, we know that the number of MRIs–or I should say, probably not the last year, but since we took government–the number of MRIs, the number of actual scans has gone up 29 per cent. CT scans, the number has gone up 26 per cent because we're paying attention to where we must invest more.
      Of course, all of this also, though, allows me to  talk about how it is that we can make better  investments because of the advancements of technology. That member should know that in 2018‑2019, we did 36 same-day elective procedures in the WRHA, and I can tell you that in this current fiscal year–already halfway through the year–we've done almost the same number right now.
      Those were procedures that before would have been an overnight in a hospital bed and now are same day and release. And as a practitioner himself, I know that the member appreciates how it is that that commitment to transformation in our health-care system is the means by which we will be able to add the capacity we need as the population ages and more people are requiring these services.

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