Wait times for hip and knee replacement surgeries have gone down over the past two years.

The North East Local Health Integration Network says this is because of joint assessment centers. The clinics look at each patient individually, and assess if they need an operation or not.

Director of Community Engagement for the LHIN, Cynthia Stables, says they are encouraging people to use the center.

“If people take advantage of the joint assessment centers, they’re getting in and out a lot more quickly,” says Stables. “Then, you’re not waiting for a surgeon.”

Stables says sometimes patients were waiting for a doctor to tell them they didn’t need surgery at all.

Another factor to the shorter wait times in Timmins, is the addition of a second surgeon. For a long time, we had only one surgeon, but Stables says bringing another on board has the wait times go down.

Patient Testimonal, from the LHIN:

Nipissing University professor Matti Saari says he was “thoroughly impressed” with his recent experience with LHIN-funded joint assessment centres. “I used to run marathons, but prior to surgery I was in constant pain with arthritis.” His quick assessment at the North East Joint Assessment Centre (NE JAC) in North Bay determined he was a candidate for hip surgery.

In his case, from surgical consultation through to surgery last summer, was just under four months. “What I liked was how well everything was coordinated through the assessment centre,” says Professor Saari. “It was totally seamless. The advanced practice physiotherapist included me in looking at my X-rays, and even the needed post-surgery homecare devices were delivered and removed without any problems.”

There is a joint assessment center in Timmins, which requires a referral from your family doctor.