The Arthritis Society calls on the Canadian Task Force to


TORONTO, June 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – As far too many Canadians face excessively long waits for joint replacement surgery, The Arthritis Society is calling for immediate action to address the growing crisis.

“The wait is terrible. It is very depressing. Some days my knee hurts so much that I can’t even stand up, ”says Holly Klein, a retired teacher from Montreal. “It impacts my quality of life. When you experience pain so debilitating that you can’t enjoy life anymore, people need to take it seriously.

Klein has been waiting 18 months for a knee replacement with her current surgeon, but has suffered from knee pain for over 17 years.

Long waits for joint replacement surgery were common across the country before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the healthcare system and the pandemic only exacerbated the crisis. About a third of hip and knee replacements did not occur within the recommended six months in 2019, but this fell to about half in the first six months of the pandemic.

“We need to innovate and make bold changes because the status quo doesn’t work,” says Trish Barbato, President and CEO of The Arthritis Society. “We are calling on everyone – policy experts, clinicians and governments – to work together to make things better for patients through the creation of a Canadian Task Force on Wait Times.

The call for a pan-Canadian task force to tackle wait times is at the heart of The wait: tackling the critical backlog of hip and knee replacement surgeries in Canada, that was released today. Waiting draws on the collective experience of a working group of experts from across the country convened by The Arthritis Society. They came up with solutions to reduce long waiting times, including:

  • Ensure that innovative models of care are replicated and widely shared so that more Canadians have access to their benefits.
  • Standardize the way patient data is collected and reported across the country, to facilitate the establishment of national standards and benchmarks.
  • Leverage digital technology to reduce wait times, maximize scarce healthcare resources, and improve coordination of care.
  • Increase access to common community health management programs, so that more patients have access to proven programs that effectively manage preoperative pain and better optimize postoperative outcomes.
  • Ensure that savings from surgical efficiency are reinvested in improving patient care.

“The days of dressing solutions and temporary palliatives are over,” says Dr. Bob Bell, Arthritis Society Task Force Member. “It’s time to do things differently and make real changes. Patients deserve backlog responses and deserve shorter wait times for care.

As the backlog of surgery skyrockets, demand is also increasing significantly. In recent years, hip and knee replacements have increased by 20%. Meanwhile, the number of people with arthritis – the disease responsible for the vast majority of these interventions – is expected to increase by 50% by 2040.

About The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society is Canada’s national charity dedicated to creating a world where people are safe from the devastating effects of arthritis. The passion to relieve suffering that inspired our founders in 1948 continues to drive us today. Thanks to the trust and support of our donors and volunteers, The Arthritis Society is the largest charitable funder of cutting-edge arthritis research in Canada and a leader in proactive advocacy. , innovative information and support that improves the health of the people we serve. The Arthritis Society is accredited under the Imagine Canada Standards Program. To learn more, visit

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Danielle Milley
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
Arthritis Society
[email protected]


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