March 7, 2012

Hon. Keith Peterson,
Minister of Health and Social Services - Total Knee Replacement Project

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share news of an innovative project at Qikiqtani General Hospital in partnership with the Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Health Services Network.

Mr. Speaker, since 1997, the Ottawa Health Services Network has been working with the Department of Health and Social Services to provide specialized medical services at the Qikiqtani General Hospital. As part of this project, a team of orthopedic surgeons has been visiting patients at the hospital and their home communities.

Although minor operations are performed in the north, larger surgeries, like total joint replacements, are referred to the Ottawa Hospital. As our waiting list for knee replacements has grown significantly, the Ottawa Health Services Network and the Ottawa Hospital collaborated in identifying an opportunity for Nunavut patients needing total knee replacement surgery to be moved up on the waiting list.

Mr. Speaker, patients were identified and screened with the assistance of a new pre-screening tool which included community nurse assessments, lab work and X-rays and assessments by doctors at the Ottawa Hospital. Our rehabilitation staff received the Ottawa Hospital patient instruction booklets for knee surgeries and knee exercises, translated into Inuktitut, and their patient teaching package. This enabled our medical professionals to thoroughly prepare the patients.

Mr. Speaker, we are hopeful that this project will improve patient screening and preparation while reducing travel and stress leading to improved recovery time.

Mr. Speaker, thanks to this innovative project, 12 Nunavummiut will be able to undergo this surgery in Ottawa during March break, at no additional cost to the Government of Nunavut.

I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Allan Giachino, Dr. Robert Feibel, Dr. Sylvain Gagné, Ms. Paula Doering and Mr. Kent Woodhall from the Ottawa Hospital; Ms. Wilma Greenley from the Ottawa Health Services Network; and Dr. Michelle Barrington, Ms. Rhose Harris-Galia and Ms. Katie Bellefontaine from our Iqaluit team for their excellent team work in making this project happen.

Thank you.