Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery in the South West LHIN

NEWS: August 2018- Rapid Access Clinics begin as part of provincial MSK strategy work


Why am I waiting?

  • Wait times for any surgery are based on a process of clinical prioritization by the surgeon. This means there could be others with less mobility or more pain (or other factors) scheduled ahead of you. Your surgeon can provide more information about this and about pain management strategies.
  • There is a high demand for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Like many areas in Ontario, the population of seniors (who make up the bulk of our hip and knee replacement candidates) is rapidly growing. According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the South West LHIN’s population of seniors is expected to rise to 20.5% by 2021 and 25% by 2041.
  • Patients are encouraged to choose their surgeon. If your surgeon receives many referrals, there is potential for a longer wait. Talk to your family physician about being referred to a surgeon with a shorter wait list. The South West LHIN is transparent about reporting wait times. They are reported monthly by hospital site.

Funding for joint replacement

  • Hospitals receive funding to complete a specific number of hip and knee replacements each year. The number of procedures is based on a provincial model which considers the number of procedures the hospital has completed in past years with provincial funding.
  • Hospitals are given their funding at the start of the year, and are encouraged to balance how they spend the funding over the course of the year. Hospitals must consider many factors when scheduling surgeries, including the availability of resources, and patient needs after surgery, such as physiotherapy and rehabilitative care.
  • The average cost of a total knee replacement including care is $15,000, while the cost of a total hip replacement is almost $16,000.
  • In 2014, Ontario spent approximately $500 million on primary joint replacements.
  • We live in a publicly-funded system and we must make decisions based on that reality.

What can I do to shorten my wait time?

  • Visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Wait Time web site.
  • It is your right to be referred to a surgeon with a shorter wait list. Talk to your doctor about your options.
  • Continue to talk to your family doctor and surgeon regarding your health.