The Manitoba government has officially opened the state-of-the-art operating room at Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg that will increase capacity by up to 1,000 inpatient and same-day hip and knee replacement procedures per year as part of its ongoing commitment to expand care options for Manitobans who need hip and knee surgeries.

“We are healing health care and improving the quality of life for Manitobans this year and for years to come,” Health Minister Audrey Gordon said. “Our government invested more than $5.9 million to increase capacity and further reduce backlogs and waitlists by ensuring more timely access at Manitoba’s leading site for joint replacement surgery.”

The minister added that in addition to renovating the operating room, this expansion includes an additional orthopedic surgeon, investment in anesthesia staff, four new inpatient beds, and additional nursing and allied health staff.

“With the opening of our new operating room at Concordia Hospital, we are taking a significant step towards addressing the growing demand for joint replacement surgeries in our community,” said Carrie Fruehm, president and COO, Concordia Hospital. “This expansion not only increases our capacity but also allows us to reduce wait times and provide our patients with timely access to the care they need. We are grateful to the Manitoba government and the Concordia Foundation for their partnership in making this expansion a reality. By working together, we can continue to deliver exceptional care, advance medical innovation, and improve the quality of life for our patients.”

The Concordia Foundation led the fundraising efforts supporting the renovation of operating room No. 5 to increase the hospital’s joint replacement surgery capacity with the help of over 200 donors who contributed $350,000 toward the capital costs of the project.

“By collaborating in this initiative, the Concordia Foundation demonstrated our mission and vision to further enable Concordia Hospital to be a leader in exemplary care, innovation and academic excellence,” said Roger Gripp, president and board chair, Concordia Foundation. “The foundation is pleased to have partnered with the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force and the Manitoba government on this urgently needed increase to joint replacement surgery capacity at Concordia Hospital.”

The minister noted that the Diagnostic and Surgical Recovery Task Force continues to make ongoing, short- and long-term investments in the province’s orthopedic surgery program. In 2022-23, 6,000 hip and knee procedures were completed across Manitoba, 600 of which were funded through the task force. Over the same time frame, Concordia Hospital completed 1,974 hip and knee procedures and 78 were funded by the task force. From February to March 2023, pandemic backlogs for hip and knee procedures were reduced by 55 per cent.

“My quality of life? I couldn’t ask for anything better. No more pain,” said Roxann Goudy, a recent knee surgery patient. “I arrived at Concordia Hospital at 6 a.m. and left the next day just after lunch. It was simply amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better staff. They were super helpful, checking in on me and making sure I was comfortable. It just seemed to flow well.”

The Manitoba government established the DSRTF in late 2021 to address waitlists for diagnostic and surgical procedures, and other related services affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Supported by experts from across Canada, the team of respected local health-care professionals identify and implement short- and long-term solutions to improve surgical and diagnostic waitlists and make overall lasting improvements to Manitoba’s health-care system.