A spokesperson for Doctors Manitoba says the diagnostic and surgery backlog in our province has reached a new high.

New estimates suggest the pandemic backlog has reached nearly 168,000 cases. This is an increase of more than 6,300 from last month's estimate.

"Our latest estimates reflect the continued disruptions to surgery and diagnostic testing that occurred during the Omicron wave," explains Dr. Kristjan Thompson, President of Doctors Manitoba. "Physicians are encouraged by recent updates suggesting surgical volumes are returning to normal in many hospitals, though pre-pandemic volumes alone won't help to clear the massive backlog. New capacity must be added to help those Manitobans who are still left waiting in pain and uncertainty."

The total estimated pandemic backlog is now 167,887 cases. This includes:

  • 54,820 surgeries (as of January 2022), up 2,493 over the last month's estimate.
  • 45,251 diagnostic imaging procedures (as of January 2022), up 2,762 cases over last month's estimate.
  • 67,816 other diagnostic procedures (as of February 2022), including allergy tests, endoscopies, mammograms, sleep disorder studies, and lung function tests, an increase of 1,047 cases over last month's estimate.

"After two long years of repeated disruptions to surgeries and diagnostic procedures, it's important to gauge how much capacity is needed to clear the backlog and ensure that Manitobans get the care they need," explains Dr. Thompson. "While we are confident our estimates have captured the total surgeries and tests missed during the pandemic, a proportion of these missed procedures may no longer be required by the patients who would have, and who should have, received them."

According to Doctors Manitoba, there could be several reasons that procedures not completed earlier in the pandemic may no longer be required:

  • Some tests are used for regular monitoring, so a test missed in the first year of the pandemic may have been caught during the second year.
  • Some patients no longer need a test or procedure, perhaps because their condition either improved or deteriorated, because they moved away, or because they died while waiting.
  • Alternative and sometimes less ideal tests or treatments were used instead.