Initiatives Aim to Increase Capacity for Orthopaedic Surgery in Newfoundland and Labrador

November 9, 2022 – St. John’s, NL: Today, the Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, announced two new initiatives to increase orthopaedic surgery capacity in Carbonear and St. Anthony. This builds on ongoing measures to help improve access to health care and reduce wait times for hip and knee joint replacement surgeries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Work is now underway to utilize operating room capacity at Carbonear General Hospital for inpatient joint replacement surgeries. Traditionally, orthopaedic services at this site were limited to same day surgeries only. To accommodate the addition of joint replacement surgeries, four beds will be opened to admit patients following their surgery. It is anticipated that approximately 160 joint replacement surgeries could be performed at this location annually. Recruitment and training of the required staff will begin in the near future, and the timeline to get surgeries up and running will depend on these factors.

A travelling orthopaedic team will also begin visits to the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony one week each month to perform joint replacement surgeries. Approximately 140 surgeries can be performed at this site annually by the travelling team. It is anticipated that the orthopaedic team could begin surgeries later this month.

There continues to be significant demand for hip and knee replacement surgery in the province, resulting in growing wait times. Reducing waitlists is a priority for all health care stakeholders.

An overview of many of the actions that the Provincial Government has taken to improve access to health care, as well as support the recruitment and retention of health care professionals are outlined in the enclosed backgrounder.

“We remain concerned with surgical delays in the province, which is why we established a task force earlier this year. The members continue to identify opportunities where we can improve access to surgeries, as we want to action improvements that will help residents receive quality care in a timely manner. I know first-hand the impacts that are felt by individuals waiting for orthopaedic procedures, and am delighted with these innovative approaches which increase much-needed surgical capacity.”
Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“We recognize we have to continue to think differently regarding solutions to address issues affecting our health care system such as the backlog of patients waiting for joint replacements. Utilizing these two sites will certainly have a positive impact on these wait times. Our focus remains the provision of quality health care to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and these initiatives certainly align with that focus.”
Honourable Tom Osborne
Minister of Health and Community Services

“The opening of additional beds at Carbonear General Hospital is an important step toward reducing wait times for orthopaedic surgeries throughout the province. This is an excellent example of how we can use the resources we have more efficiently to meet the health-care needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”
Honourable Steve Crocker
MHA for Carbonear-Trinity-Bay de Verde

“I am very pleased to see this innovative approach to increase access to joint replacement surgeries assigned to the Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony. While Curtis Memorial is historically known for providing an excellent orthopaedic service, the travelling team resource is a welcome addition and will have a positive impact on wait times, benefitting residents across the District of St. Barbe – L’Anse aux Meadows.”
Honourable Krista Lynn Howell
MHA for St. Barbe – L-Anse aux Meadows

“Orthopaedic demand has seen a continued increase, as the population of Newfoundland and Labrador ages. This needs to be met with increased resources throughout the province. The two initiatives announced today are both positive steps to increase the provincial capacity to deliver orthopaedic care in a more timely manner and are welcomed by our division and Eastern Health.”
Dr. William Moores
Divisional Head of Orthopaedics
Eastern Health


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Last updated: 2022-11-10