B.C. says COVID-19 surgery backlog mostly eliminated

B.C. says it has caught up on the backlog of surgeries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jacques Poitras/CBC - image credit)
B.C. says it has caught up on the backlog of surgeries caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jacques Poitras/CBC - image credit)

The backlog of thousands of surgeries that were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic has now mostly been eliminated, as British Columbia is reporting a record number of surgeries over the summer.

The Ministry of Health says all 24,488 surgeries that had to be postponed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have now been completed or rescheduled.

Through August 2023, 134,941 scheduled and unscheduled surgeries were completed in the province, 642 more than than in 2022 and 6,288 more than the same time period pre-pandemic in 2019, according to ministry figures.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the progress is a credit to the resilience of B.C. health-care workers and the health-care system.

"While facing numerous emergencies, we kept going and we achieved our goals. This progress report reflects the strength of our response," he said.

The ministry said that from April 2020 to June 22, 2023, the province hired 219 surgeons, 137 anesthesiologists, 385 perioperative nurses, seven general physician anesthetists and 120 medical-device reprocessing technicians.

Elective and non-urgent surgeries were in cancelled and forced to be rescheduled from March 16, 2020 to May 18, 2020 because of COVID-19.