With just over six months to go in the four-year Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, the latest provincial wait times numbers show that, as of August 31, 80 per cent of patients received their surgery within three months of their referral from a surgeon and 91 per cent received it within six months.
“Saskatchewan is changing the definition of a long wait for surgery,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “After March 2014, any wait longer than three months will be too long.”
The number of people waiting more than three months for surgery has dropped 59 per cent from 15,345 in March 2010 to 6,264 at the end of August 2013.
“That is 9,081 fewer patients waiting longer than three months for surgeries,” Duncan said. “This initiative is making meaningful improvements for surgical patients.”
The Saskatchewan health system is on track to provide 89,000 publicly-funded surgeries in the 2013-14 fiscal year. Patients have received 35,185 surgeries in the first five months of the fiscal year, up from 32,957 performed in the same period last year.
Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region has had 11 straight months of improved surgery wait times, showing a 32 per cent drop in the number of people waiting more than three months -- from 5,692 on September 1, 2012 to 3,859 on August 31, 2013.
However, in Saskatoon Health Region, the number of patients waiting more than three months on August 31 had increased from the previous month by 188 to 2,082. The health region has seen demand for surgery grow by about 700 cases more than estimated this year, and is working with its surgeons and the Ministry of Health to find ways to meet the demand.
Information about the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative is available at www.sasksurgery.ca. The website also features the Specialist Directory, which empowers patients and their primary care providers to compare options for surgical care.