Canadian Orthopaedic Association Supports CMA's Health Challenge to Parties

    MONTREAL, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - "The CMA is absolutely right to call on
the federal political parties to outline to voters how they would come to
grips with Canada's acute shortage of doctors, nurses and other key health
professionals," says Dr. Peter O'Brien, president of the Canadian Orthopaedic
Association. "And it's not just family doctors we need. Specialists of every
type, including orthopaedic surgeons, are in very short supply."
    The Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) is sounding the alarm because
Canada is experiencing a severe shortage of orthopaedic surgeons at the very
time when demand for arthroplasty, hip-fracture repair and other procedures
are increasing significantly. Currently, there are approximately
1000 practising surgeons in Canada, a patient-to-surgeon ratio that is much
lower than most other G7 nations, such as the US or United Kingdom. The COA
has calculated that if another 400 orthopaedic surgeons were added immediately
to the roster, it might meet present day need, but would still be inadequate
for the projected doubling of demand by 2015.
    To make matters worse, for much of the last decade, nearly half of
Canada's newly trained orthopaedic surgeons (about 50 each year) have had to
find work outside the country - largely because many hospitals are reluctant
to invest in a specialty that has significant material costs (implants,
equipment, OR time). Of course, this attitude is at odds with the community,
since people clearly place a very high value on pain relief and mobility.
    In an election so tightly focused on party leaders, the Canadian
Orthopaedic Association echoes the CMA and wonders, where is the leadership
that is so important in harmonizing health policy across 10 provinces and
three territories?
    "Canadians deserve to know what the next government intends to do about a
health-care system that already has too few health professionals to look after
the needs of a growing and aging population," says Dr. O'Brien. "Are the
hard-fought gains that have been made in patient wait times for
joint-replacement surgery to be lost because Canada has no national strategy
to train and retain more orthopaedic surgeons?"

    The surgeons who make up the Canadian Orthopaedic Association are
dedicated to promoting and delivering excellence in orthopaedic care to the
many Canadians coping with severe arthritis or other musculoskeletal

For further information:

For further information: contact the Association's CEO Doug Thomson,
(514) 874-9003

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Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA)

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