By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The number of surgeries at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) is on the rise.
According to Chief Executive Officer and President Lori Marshall, the hospital hopes to hike elective surgeries 20 per cent above pre-pandemic rates.
A recent influx of cash from the province should help.
Last week Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton and Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls jointly announced an additional $3.2-million in funding for the hospital.
It marks a 2.6 per cent increase over the $122 million received from the province for 2020-21.
Marshall said the money will be funnelled towards surgical renewal in an attempt to clear hundreds of backlogged procedures cancelled due to the pandemic.
It will include 98 additional hip and knee surgeries.
“We’re very pleased and happy to be receiving this funding from the government,” Marshall said in a recent press briefing, adding it allows the hospital to better serve the community.
But how quickly surgeries move forward also
depends on the availability of surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses, Marshall said.
In addition, some of the money will be directed towards Wallaceburg’s emergency department and medical beds, as well as the site’s growing list of ambulatory and diagnostic services.
It will take a while to clear the backlog, as there were 2,000 fewer surgeries performed in 2020 compared to 2019.
From April 2019 to Feb. 2020, a total of 6,486 surgeries were performed at CKHA.
The number dropped 30 per cent to 4,485 from April 2020 to Feb. 2021.