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Knee surgery wait time is unacceptable

Edmonton Journal August 28, 2011 3:08 AM

Re:Canadian health-care system eroding: outgoing CMA boss; Despite challenges, doctors urged to take lead in seeking reform,” The Journal, Aug. 24.

I have been waiting for knee replacement surgery since February and have yet to even get into the hip and knee clinic for the preliminary.

I sent four emails to Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky, only to be put in touch with a person who told me there was no help and things would get better by 2013. I told her that would not help me and many others waiting. Two years from now!

I cannot remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep because of the pain from my knee. I am always tired, feeling down and cannot do a lot of things I used to, like going for a good long walk.

Isn’t it awful that a person should suffer this way when we have the facilities and doctors to alleviate this pain?

Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, the outgoing president of the Canadian Medical Association, said: “I don’t think any of us would have thought that we would be practising in a system where . getting a knee joint replacement for severe and disabling pain within one year is considered to be an ideal target for quality care – incidentally, a target we don’t achieve very often.”

The new website that offers wait times for this surgery says it is now 56.5 weeks at the Royal Alexandra, up from 50.7 last quarter.

When will someone do something so people who need this surgery can have it and get on with their lives? Our health-care system is indeed eroding, and something needs to be done soon.

Sheilagh Wilson, Edmonton