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Hip surgery: five things that could reduce the wait times

03/02/2015 02:31 EST | Updated 05/02/2015 05:59 EDT
A new Go Public investigation finds wait times for hip replacement surgery are leaving patients in pain and taking medication to manage that pain for lengthy stretches. 

3,000 people are waiting for the procedure, and some could wait as long as two years to get surgery.

The Early Edition's political insiders Moe Sihota and Colin Hansen weighed in on what the province can do to bring down wait times.

Moe Sihota: five changes to fix the system

"The government has a choice here. They can fund at the rate of inflation in terms of increasing the health care budget which is what the Liberals have been doing and get away with it for a time, but ultimately demand increases and you get into the problem that you've got into right now," said Sihota, a former NDP cabinet minister.

Sihota made five suggestions to reduce surgery wait times:

- Use more specialized surgical rooms

- Invest in new equipment

- Standardize procedures

- Centralize the booking system

- Fund home and community care to take pressure off emergency rooms and reduce backlog in hospitals

Colin Hansen: the province is working to meet growing demand

"We need to find ways to meet the growing demand and some of the new ways of doing it, and some of the five things that Moe mentioned make sense — that's why the province is already implementing those five things," said Hansen, a former Liberal health minister.

"I acknowledge that there are individuals who are suffering greatly, but I also know from my time as health minister, there would be a media story about someone — a family member usually — who says my mum or my dad has been waiting two years.

"I as the minister would ask for the details, and you find it's actually the doctor who said to the patient, 'I'm not doing the surgery until you lose 50 pounds,' or 'I'm not doing the surgery until you stop smoking.'"

The Political Insiders can be heard on CBC Radio's The Early Edition every Monday at 7:40 a.m. PT in Vancouver.

To hear the full interview with Moe Sihota and Colin Hansen, click the audio labelled: Political Insiders on surgery wait times.

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