[WATCH] Measures announced to slash hip and knee replacement waiting lists

Health parliamentary secretary announces measures including partnering with private sector, and extending working hours to tackle hip and knee replacement waiting lists

Measures announced to slash hip and knee replacement waiting lists • Video by Raphael Farrugia

Health parliamentary secretary Chris Fearne announced a number of measures in a bid to lower hip and knee replacement operation waiting lists throughout the year.

During a visit to the Orthopedic ward at Mater Dei hospital, Fearne said that the ward carries out an average of 400 operations a month, including some 100 hip and knee replacement surgeries.

“We will be tackling waiting lists for these operations during the coming year just like we successfully tackled MRI waiting lists in 2014, significantly reducing waiting time from four years to four months,” Fearne said.

He announced that in order to tackle the extensive lists, which currently have some 1,600 people waiting for interventions, some eight hip and knee replacements would be carried out at private hospitals starting from next week.

“An expression of interest will also be closing next week in order to invite professionals, including surgeons and nurses, to put in some extra hours, particularly during the weekends,” Fearne said, adding that this would allow the hospital to carry out an increased number of operations.

 He added that the waiting lists had already been dropped by an impressive 28% in just four months, after significant changes had taken place in the ward, including new management under Prof. Ivan Esposito.

Fearne explained that the ward currently employed seven surgeons on a full time basis and three others on a part time basis, with average weekly hip and knee replacements up to 24 a week already.

 “We are also already using operating theatres at health centres across the island, namely the one in Mosta, where some 400 surgeries have already taken place,” he said reiterating the government’s commitment to significantly cutting down waiting lists for these operations.

Esposito thanked employees of the ward, and said that an increase in output had only been possible due to their dedication. He added that for the first time in a long time, the hospital had already managed to achieve more operations than bookings for hip and knee replacements.

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