The pandemic has a backlog of nearly 16 million medical procedures in Ontario, doctors say

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an estimated 15.9 million surgeries, diagnostic tests, screenings and other medical procedures that should have been performed in Ontario.

OMA Chairman Dr. Adam Kassam said at an online media briefing on Wednesday that this means that on average, each Ontario resident has missed more than one medical procedure.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario has finally fallen,” he said. “But three waves of serious infections have created a long-term backlog of surgeries, diagnostic tests and other medical procedures.”

In a statement, OMA Estimate the top six missed or delayed procedures There are:

  • MRI (477,301)
  • CT scan (269,683)
  • Cataract surgery (90,136)
  • Knee replacement surgery (38,263)
  • Hip replacement surgery (16,506)
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (3,163)

OMA said these estimates are in addition to the number of people on the waiting list before the pandemic.

The association calculates these numbers by comparing OHIP surgery bills in 2020 with bills in 2021. Kassam said that this method should give a fairly accurate estimate because there is no reason to believe that the number of people requiring medical care due to non-COVID medical conditions will increase and decrease year-on-year.

“Many situations are not diagnosed or underdiagnosed,” he said. “During this pandemic, many people have not seen their doctors. There may be conditions that we don’t actually know yet.”

Cancer screening, blood test

OMA stated that the backlog of screenings and procedures in the community (for example, those handled in family doctor clinics) is higher than the backlog in hospitals.

Dr. Sohal Goyal, family physician and chairperson of the Holton Primary Care Center in Mississauga, said: “We have seen fewer preventive tests for disease screening, such as breast cancer mammograms, colon cancer testing, and cervical cancer PAP. Check Network, he speaks at the OMA briefing.

“There are fewer heart tests to detect heart disease. There is less blood work to detect diseases such as high cholesterol.”

Dr. Sohal Goyal, a family doctor in Mississauga, Ontario, wants patients to know that primary care facilities are open, and patients should not hesitate to book preventive screenings and tests for chronic diseases such as diabetes. (Submitted by Dr. Sohal Goyal)

Goyal says this means that early detection that leads to early treatment or prevention of diseases (such as stroke) is not happening as it should be.

In addition, he said that many patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes are not being monitored.

Dr. Sandra Landolt, A dermatologist and chair of OMA Dermatology in Thornhill, Ontario, said she was concerned that “we don’t even know the backlog” because patients missed early detection of melanoma and other serious skin cancers.

It may take months to clear the backlog

Dr. Harindra Wijeysundera, head of the cardiology department of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, said that the delay in testing and treatment means that heart disease patients get worse when they see a doctor and are placed on the waiting list.

OMA also emphasized that mental health problems have increased during the pandemic and will require continuous care in the next few years.

OMA stated that if the work rate of healthcare workers is 120%, it will take 4 to 22 months to clear the backlog, depending on the procedure.

As a result, Kassam said, the association is negotiating with its members, other healthcare partners (such as nursing associations), and the public to make recommendations to more effectively resolve the backlog.

Family doctor Goyal said that one of the problems that can be solved now is the erroneous perception that doctors are still not available during the pandemic.

“We are open,” he said. “Contact your doctor.”

“The screening test will be performed when the system is open. A blood test that has not yet been completed. If you are hesitant about the vaccine, please contact us and we can help answer your questions.”

The patient is anxious while waiting

Cardiologists Goyal and Wijeysundera both said that doctors recognize the anxiety that many patients feel when they continue to endure the long wait for surgery or screening.

“I admit how difficult it is. But I also encourage all waiting patients not to wait in isolation,” Wijeysundera said. “Waiting time is not static.”

“They are not alone, and they are not alone. Working with us, we will find a solution,” he said.

“We understand that you feel anxious or helpless,” Goyal said. “We will do everything we can to ensure that we complete the backlog and provide you with support.

“We will continue to explore more solutions.”

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