August 11, 2009

Metro Vancouver poised to cut and delay thousands of surgeries

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The latest costs of the recession and the 2010 Olympic Games are hitting the medical field, reports Darah Hansen of the Vancouver Sun. A leaked document from Vancouver Coastal Health Authority proposes delaying more than 6,000 medically necessary surgeries from September through March to make up for massive budget cuts. The health authority plans on reducing the number of surgeries further by closing nearly one third of its operating rooms during the Olympic Games to prepare for potential disease outbreaks, especially H1N1. This move comes a month after authorities decided to cut elective surgeries by 35 percent during a one-month period in February and March – the peak time of the Games, reported Jeff Lee in an earlier Vancouver Sun article. Opponents worry many procedures defined as “elective” are time-sensitive, a fact that may force patients to seek treatment outside the region.

– Emily Linroth

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