LONDON, ONT. -- The number of people waiting a year or more for an orthopedic surgery keeps growing, especially when some surgeries were cancelled when the pandemic hit.

“The problem that we had to begin with which was already significant which was 50,000 people in Ontario in pain for surgery, it essentially got increased dramatically by months,” says Dr. Jeremy Hall, chair of the Ontario Orthopaedic Association. 

Recognizing the need for action, a group of orthopedic surgeons have started a national campaign called Fast Track Care urging provincial governments to invest and prioritize orthopedic surgeries. 

“The longer you wait with these disorders the worst the problem gets,” says Hall. “Which may have initially been amenable to an orthopedic procedure and have a really great outcome but after waiting an extended period of time for surgery their medical health deteriorates.” 

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says it has been working on implementing improvements to address the long wait times for these surgeries.

In an email to CTV News the ministry says, “Rapid Access Clinics are operational across the province to help patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis and low back pain access the right treatment faster, including addressing long wait times to see an orthopedic surgeon.”

Meanwhile some hospitals are also coming up with new ways to tackle the issue. At London Health Sciences Centre a new surgical centre across the road from Victoria Hospital opened earlier this year.

The centre is just one of the ways the hospital is working to ease wait times and streamline a number of elective surgeries.

“We are trying to gain efficiencies in providing more efficient streamline care,” says Dr. Abdul-Rahman Lawendy, medical director of the Surgical Centre. 

“To provide a patient experience that’s optimal safe and able to be done in a mode expedient fashion than can be done in essentially what’s a mega hospital.” 

The centre, which opened its doors in February of this year, is still in its infancy, but the hopes are to eventually be able to perform up to 5,000 procedures a year.