BARRINGTON, NS – Like many other Nova Scotians in need of a new knee or hip, Murray Newell has been waiting for nearly two years for his hip replacement surgery. His wife, Cindy, says because Murray’s health is rapidly deteriorating, the family is considering flying to Quebec so he can have his surgery done at a private clinic.
“It took almost a year just for Murray to have a consultation with a surgeon,” says Cindy. “Now, we’ve been waiting a year to find out when the surgery will happen. My husband’s quality of life has gone down the drain and at this point, we are desperate. We can’t wait any longer.”
The Canadian Institute for Health Information benchmark wait time for hip and knee replacement surgeries is 182 days. According to CIHI data, 90 per cent of Nova Scotians wait 606 days for a hip replacement and 764 days for a knee replacement. Nova Scotia’s wait times are the worst of all the Canadian provinces.
“This province has fallen way behind,” says Progressive Conservative MLA for Argyle-Barrington, Chris d’Entremont. “Our aging population means demand is on the rise. And yet, under the McNeil Liberals, wait times for these crucial surgeries continue to grow year after year. It is outrageous that there is nothing being done right away to address this problem.”
Cindy says the arthritis in Murray’s hip has gotten so bad, he has no cartilage or tissue around his bone. She says she doesn’t understand why his case isn’t considered a priority, and why more surgeons aren’t being hired.
“Murray can no longer play with our granddaughters, who are two and four. He also used to enjoy birdwatching, but he can’t do that anymore either.”
Cindy says Murray has also been trying to work, but can only manage a few hours a day. His work is offering to pay $20,000 for him to get the hip replacement surgery at a clinic in Montreal.
d’Entremont says it’s ridiculous that it would get to the point where a family would be put in that position.
“Too many Nova Scotians have stories like Murray’s,” says d’Entremont. “The McNeil Liberals have no vision and no plan of action when it comes to health care and because of that, people are left suffering on wait lists.”