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Report: Over 353,000 postponed surgeries, procedures and consultations due to COVID-19

  • SecondStreet.org gathered FOI data across Canada on postponements
  • Evidence suggests some postponed surgeries resulted in patient deaths

Public policy think tank SecondStreet.org released freedom of information responses today from across Canada with data on the number of surgeries, procedures and consultations with specialists that were postponed due to the pandemic.

Nine provinces provided data showing 205,549 postponements. While the Ontario government indicated it had “no records” on the subject, data from the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) has estimated there were 148,364 postponed surgeries in the province. This brings the national total to at least 353,000.

“When COVID emerged, governments postponed hundreds of thousands of non-COVID surgeries, procedures and consultations with specialists,” said SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. “Not only has that increased waiting lists, it has caused tremendous patient suffering, sometimes even resulting in death.” 

Province

Postponements

BC

24,287

AB

16,893

SK

23,209

MB

8,391

ON

148,364

QC

70,467

NB

1,562

NL

23,867

NS

35,753

PE

1,120

TOTAL:

353,913

“Governments could be much more transparent about patient suffering due to postponed surgeries and procedures,” added Craig. “We know some patients have died from surgical delays, but we really don’t know the extent of the problem.”

To see SecondStreet.org’s policy brief – click here


– GOVERNMENT DATA SOURCES –

To view the responses each government provided, please see the links below:

BC
* Ministry of Health – click here

AB
* Alberta Health Services – click here

SK
* Ministry of Health – click here

MB
* Interlake-Eastern – click here
* Manitoba Shared Health – click here
* Northern Health – click here
* Prairie Mountain – click here
* Southern Health – click here

ON
* Ontario Health – click here (No data)

QC
* Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux – click here

NB
* New Brunswick Department of Health – click here

NL
* Central Health – click here
* Western Health – click here
* Eastern Health – click here
* Labrador-Grenfell – click here

NS
* Nova Scotia Health Authority – click here

PE
* Health PEI – click here

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