Queensway-Carlton Hospital Partners with Arn Prior Hospital to Reduce Orthopedic Wait Lists

Orthopedic surgeons at Queensway-Carlton Hospital are reducing the waiting list by operating in an underused operating room 45 minutes away in Arnprior.

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The Total Knee Surgery Program, a partnership between Arnprior Regional Medicine and Queensway-Carlton Hospital, has seen a 30 percent increase in knee surgeries performed in the past year, according to hospital officials.

The program launched in May 2022 as a way to build regional surgical capacity. Since then, his Carlton Hospital Queensway orthopedic surgeon has completed his 287 total knee replacement surgeries at Arn Prior. This is 30% more for him than the surgery that would have been done without cooperation.

The two hospitals are celebrating their first anniversary together as the Ontario government expands the number of surgeries performed at private, for-profit surgical facilities. Critics say the move will cost taxpayers even more at a time when many public hospital operating rooms are underutilized.

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Under the surgical programme, Queensway-Carlton surgeons travel to Arnprior to operate on Mondays and Fridays. They perform four surgeries each day in Arnprior.

Other staff involved in the surgery are from Arnprior Regional Hospital. They include anesthesiologists, nurses and other medical professionals. As a total knee replacement had not been performed at Arn Prior, Queensway-Carlton provided specialized training to the Arn Prior surgical team prior to the start of the programme.

Queensway-Carlton is not the first Ottawa hospital to partner with a smaller regional hospital to utilize operating room space and reduce waiting lists. Orthopedic surgeons at Ottawa Hospital also perform day surgeries in Kempville.

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Ottawa Hospital also rents out its unused Riverside hospital operating space on weekends to a private group of orthopedic surgeons to perform surgeries in partnership with the hospital.

Critics fear a new law in Ontario will allow for-profit clinics to poach staff from the public health system, draining the funding system. Many critics argue that more should be done to take advantage of underutilized public operating room space before expanding the private system.

Hip and knee surgeries, along with cataract surgery, have one of the longest waiting lists in the state, but that’s changing.

Dr. Sanjeev Sharma, Chief Orthopedic Surgeon at Queensway-Carlton, said the partnership between Queensway-Carlton and Arnprior Hospital is working well for patients.

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Sharma said less complicated knee replacements were performed at Arnprior, allowing Queensway-Carlton to focus on more complex cases.

Sharma also spoke out on the state’s move to expand privately-run surgical centers, raising questions he and others have about how the state’s surgical centers would affect the system. said.

“We don’t know. It seems to be becoming a very patchy system that people are fixing without a global plan, which worries me,” he said. “I think there is still some capacity left in the system before we go full privatization.”

One of his concerns is public hospitals having to deal with complications from surgeries performed in private clinics. Complications, though uncommon, do occur, he said. Hip and knee replacement surgery has a 3 to 4 percent complication rate, he said.

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“If you only work in a private center, who will take care of your patients?” One of the patients who visited the private clinic, he said, was sent to the emergency room if complications developed. He was told to go to

“It’s not ideal patient care. There are a lot of problems that need to be solved.”

Ontario’s Bill 60 states that applicants wishing to open private community health facilities funded by the state must demonstrate plans to integrate them into the public system.

Sharma said he has already seen patients undergoing surgery at a private clinic in Quebec because he thought the wait at home was too long.

Layline McGrath, vice president of patient care at Arnprior, said the partnership is good for patients (getting surgery faster than other options) and good for hospitals.

“We want to be part of a larger system … we are working to free up surgical space. We feel our staff contributes to something greater.”

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