New Winnipeg urologic centre could drastically cut waits for procedures: Health Sciences Centre

A new centre focused on treating issues like bladder cancer and kidney stones will provide care for thousands of Manitobans per year when it opens and should significantly reduce wait times for some procedures, the Health Sciences Centre says.

The HSC Foundation and the Manitoba government announced construction plans for the Manitoba Urologic Centre, which is expected to open by the end of 2023, in a news release Wednesday.

The urology centre will provide care to as many as 10,000 patients per year who need kidney stone removal, treatment for certain types of bladder cancer and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) — a urological surgery to remove parts of the prostate gland — among other conditions, the release said.

Wait times for many procedures, which are currently stretching to as much as a year, are expected to drop to weeks or days once the centre opens, the HSC Foundation says.

Rural and northern patients are also expected to be able to receive their diagnosis and required procedure on the same day once the centre is operating.

Rural and remote patients often have to make several trips over months to get the complete care they need, Dr. Jeff Saranchuk, a urologist at HSC, said in the news release.

Other patients suffer while waiting for kidney stones to be treated, he said.

“We will now have the capacity to treat people more quickly — sometimes within days — with the best technology available,” Saranchuk said in the release.

Reduced wait times at the centre are expected to lead to better outcomes for patients by reducing the risk of future health complications.

Jonathon Lyon, CEO and president of the HSC Foundation, says the urologic centre will help all Manitobans who rely on Health Sciences Centre for their care.

“When any of us are sick, no one wants to wait,” he said in a phone interview with CBC News.

“You want to get diagnosed quickly and treated quickly so that you can ideally get home to your loved ones and carry on with your life as you lived beforehand.”

With many procedures expected to be moved from operating rooms to the new centre, space will be freed up elsewhere in the province’s health-care system for additional surgical capacity.

Lyon says the project is just one solution to the province’s current surgical backlog, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a step in the right direction. It’s not going to solve every problem, but it helps by taking a piece of it,” he said.

“In addition to providing more timely care, [the centre is] also going to have the added benefit of helping address surgical wait-list issues that we’ll have coming out of COVID.”

The centre will be housed in the HSC’s Notre Dame Pavilion — formerly known as the Women’s Pavilion — on Notre Dame Avenue. Construction costs and equipment acquisition will be funded by the HSC Foundation and its donors. The province, through Shared Health, will pay for ongoing operating costs at the centre.

The current urology space, located within HSC’s main hospital building, will be redeveloped for other high-priority acute care needs, the HSC Foundation says.

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