Patients sent to other provinces for surgery

(CNN) — Some patients in Manitoba will be temporarily sent to other provinces to ensure surgical procedures continue as planned, Manitoba Health said Thursday.

To address a shortage of MRI scanners, as well as a backlog of surgery, the health authority asked certain outpatient surgeries to be put on hold.

This new policy applies to people with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, pain management and osteoarthritis.

The province estimated those surgeries will be postponed for 10 to 14 days, said Toiya Nazon, Manitoba’s chief medical health officer.

Nazon said each day these surgeries are put on hold, the number of patients affected increases by three.

“We are doing the best we can to ensure they continue operating smoothly, but it’s not possible to send them down to Ontario or the Yukon or somewhere and do that without creating more problems,” she said.

Hospitals in Manitoba have been warning patients about delays in surgeries for months, according to the Canadian Press.

According to the state of affairs report, released earlier this year, scheduled surgeries have been delayed because of an aging and aging patient population and the inability to fully fill open slots in operating rooms.

Dr. Anne Pastuszak, Manitoba’s medical officer of health, said two surgeons contracted to perform abdominal surgeries have had to fill in for the backlogs because of space limitations.

The shortage in doctors has led to a backlog of people waiting for surgery, Nazon said.

She said Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, which uses an MRI scanner, is only connected to nine of its 24 internal MRI machines.

“Can we do more? That’s possible, but we really have to take a step back and look at our options because the capacity is finite,” Nazon said.

There are 24 internal MRI machines in operation in Manitoba, she said.

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