Cutting surgery beds the wrong move: NDP

The NDP says cutting surgical capacity in Regina is a step in the wrong direction, and wants the Sask. Party to reverse a decision to close a ward of surgical beds at Regina's Pasqua Hospital.

The government is closing down a unit that adds surgical beds for about 970 patients each year. The eight-bed surgical unit at Pasqua Hospital is for patients who need to be in the hospital for less than 72 hours.

"Southern Saskatchewan is growing and this government isn't meeting surgical targets as it is,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Cutting the number of surgeries Regina can handle is a mistake, and saving money by cutting surgical beds is another of the Sask. Party’s horribly misplaced priorities.”

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, 90 per cent of patients wait as long as 240 days for a hip replacement with only half getting their surgery within 76 days. For knee replacement surgery, 90 per cent of patients wait as long as 265 days, with half of all patients waiting up to 111 days.

Wotherspoon said experiences like Tony Kot’s underlie the importance of surgical beds. A 34-year-old father, Kot had his emergency back surgery delayed repeatedly in March because there wasn’t a bed available for him in Regina.

“Tony was in debilitating pain, and his organs were in danger,” said Wotherspoon. “His neurosurgeon was even willing to work after hours to perform the emergency surgery, but day after day, the lack of available beds meant Tony was at home, in uncontrollable pain, waiting for a bed.

“We hear about delays and cancellations like Tony’s too often. This government should be striving to do better – not making it worse.”

Moving backwards, cutting capacity and causing the wait list to grow hurts patients, and doesn’t help recruitment and retention of frustrated surgeons and health professionals, said Wotherspoon.

“This government should eliminate waste and save money by eliminating the $20-million-per-year Lean Kaizen Promotion Offices and by reducing the top-heavy proportion of health care managers at desks and in offices,” said Wotherspoon. “Saving by cutting much-needed surgical beds is just wrong.”