Tim Houston, PCs will lower wait times, expand use of operating rooms

Wait times for surgical procedures in Nova Scotia have kept some patients waiting years for treatment, while the pandemic backlog has caused other Nova Scotians to see their illnesses go untreated and undetected.

Tim Houston and the PC Caucus have tabled Bill 86: The Efficient Operating Room Act, which would set standards and goals for surgeries and wait times. Houston says that by expanding operating room hours, we can start to rebuild a health care system in crisis.

“When Nova Scotians use their tax dollars to pay for hospitals and healthcare, they expect that operating rooms get used frequently,” says Houston. “It’s time we get serious about doctor recruitment and open up our operating rooms to ensure these excruciatingly long wait times are a thing of the past.”

This Bill would ensure that Nova Scotia’s wait times fall in line with national standards and would force the government of the day to make changes to keep up with the health demands of the province. Government would have 18 months to comply.

Current wait times for hip replacement surgery in Kentville at Valley Regional, is 717 days, while a wait for knee replacement in Halifax at the QE2 is 691 days.

“It’s an accountability measure, and accountability on healthcare has been sorely lacking from this government,” says Houston.

Houston and the PCs were in Cape Breton in February to roll out Hope for Health, their detailed plan for healthcare in Nova Scotia. Cutting surgery wait times by opening up operating rooms is a key plank of that plan.

“Surgical wait times contribute to worsening conditions, chronic pain, packed hospitals and even opioid addiction,” says Houston. “By at least meeting national standards, we are signalling that Nova Scotians deserve a certain standard of healthcare, and that the government will be forced to take steps to get those results.”