Horizon making significant progress in improving access, reducing wait times for hip and knee surgeries while maintaining OR access for other specialties

HORIZON – Horizon has made significant progress to improve access to hip and knee surgeries, cutting wait times in half since 2020, without impacting OR time for other surgical specialties.

Horizon also remains fully committed to improving OR access and decreasing wait times for all surgical specialties, while adhering to the Provincial Health Plan objective of reducing the waitlist for hip and knee replacement surgery.

To clarify the recent media coverage on Wednesday, Nov. 22, Horizon has been able to significantly reduce wait times and backlogs for hip and knee surgeries, cataract surgeries, as well as meeting national benchmarks for cancer surgery across Horizon.

Recent agreements in Miramichi and, just last week, Fredericton, that will see an increase in cataract surgeries carried out in private clinics operated by Horizon-licensed physicians, has resulted in better access and care for cataract surgery patients and reduced wait times.

In Miramichi, this has resulted in a surplus of OR time that has been allocated to long waiting surgeries.

Initiatives such as the expansion of hip and knee surgeries to Upper River Valley Hospital, as well as the implementation of the High Intensity Interval Theatre (HIIT) initiative earlier this year, which enhanced access to orthopedic surgeries during off-peak times (evenings and weekends), have generated positive results. [RG(1] 

It is also crucial to note that surgical specialities are allocated OR time based on the acuity of patients, in addition to historical trends and overall waitlists.  Patients are booked for surgery in accordance with New Brunswick Surgical Access Registry policies.

In the past several months, significant efforts to improve surgical access for patients waiting for hip and knee surgery have been implemented that have not impacted operating room time for other surgical specialties.

An ongoing shortage of available anesthesiologists has impacted OR availability, however Horizon medical teams are actively working to recruit more anesthesiologists to our organization while also using locums where needed to help alleviate this constraint.

Additionally, Horizon’s HR teams have been working diligently to address ongoing nursing shortages throughout our organization, while introducing enhanced, optimized training for OR nurses through the use of virtual reality simulation.

This innovative training opportunity has been well-received by our nurses, allowing them to feel more confident prior to working in the OR environment, helping ensure the delivery of safe, timely and quality care to our patients.

We continue to work through our challenges to provide timely and quality care to all patients, and as always, we value the input of health care professionals and the broader community as we strive to enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of our system.

Fredericton/Upper River Valley Area

  • 90% of knee replacement patients are waiting 215 fewer days for their surgery since the end of 2020.

Miramichi Area

  • Wait times for 90% of knee replacement patients are waiting 157 fewer days since the end of 2020.

Moncton area

  • TMH has successfully recruited anesthesia locums for 8-week terms to provide additional capacity to increase surgical access without impacting existing OR allocation.

Saint John Area

  • 90% of knee replacement patients are waiting 226 fewer days for their surgery since the end of 2020.

Horizon has a plan to improve health care in New Brunswick. Our plan is focused on retention and recruitment efforts and improving the overall patient experience by addressing patient flow and access to services. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca.   This initiative also supports the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.


For more information contact:

Kris McDavid

Media Relations