A little more than 5,000 Quebec patients were added to the waiting list for surgery in August, reveal data published Tuesday by the Ministry of Health.
As of September 9, 163,463 Quebecers were waiting for surgery, an increase compared to the 158,427 patients registered on waiting lists on August 12. Since January 2020, the waiting list has never been this long, with the exception of December 31, 2022, when 163,991 patients were waiting for surgery.
The number of patients waiting for surgery for more than a year has decreased. From August 12 to September 9, this increased from 14,642 to 14,296.
This is a “great improvement”, underlined the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, upon his arrival at the National Assembly. “The principle that we asked of surgeons is to resolve cases that have been pending for a long time. So we see, it works for [patients en attente depuis] more than a year,” he added.
Since the pandemic, Quebec has been trying to reduce the number of patients waiting for surgery for more than a year. The government wants to return to a waiting list of around 2,500 patients. He revised his timetable for achieving this goal on numerous occasions.
The Ministry of Health first said it wanted to find the pre-pandemic threshold of 2,500 patients in March 2023. The deadline was then postponed to May 2023. Then, Quebec gave itself until April 2023 to find this level of patients “out of time”. At that time, 22,000 Quebec patients had been waiting for an operation for more than a year.
In May 2023, Minister Dubé pushed back this deadline again: he then gave himself until the end of 2024 to reduce the number of patients waiting for surgery for more than a year to 2,500.
A meeting with specialist doctors
In a press scrum on Tuesday, Mr. Dubé said he intended to meet the representative of specialist doctors, Vincent Oliva, to discuss the increase of 5,000 patients on waiting lists. He also said he was satisfied to note that “the volume of operations” had increased in operating rooms. From 25,486 on August 12, the number of surgeries performed in a month increased to 29,080 on September 9. Last year at the same period, a total of 27,866 surgeries were carried out in one month, said Mr. Dubé’s office.
At the end of the summer and the vacation period, Minister Dubé said he hoped to see more green lights appear on his dashboard. He also welcomed the reduction in waiting lists for oncological surgeries.
In fact, the number of patients waiting for these surgeries increased from 4,374 on August 12 to 4,744 on September 9. Here too, however, the long-term wait has diminished. The number of patients waiting for oncological surgery for 57 days or more increased from 892 on August 12 to 755 on September 9.