Surgical wait times continue to improve

March 27, 2012

New surgical data updated to January 31, 2012, shows that Saskatchewan continues to make progress improving access to surgery for patients.

"Since 2007, there has been a 90 per cent drop in the number of Saskatchewan patients waiting more than 18 months for surgery and a 79 per cent decrease in the number waiting more than 12 months," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "We're continuing to build on that great progress."

By the end of 2012-13, the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative's target is to reduce all surgical wait times to less than six months. By 2014, the goal is to provide all patients with an opportunity to have surgery within three months.

Currently, 99 per cent of surgeries are completed within 18 months, 96 per cent within 12 months, 87 per cent within six months and 76 per cent within three months.

More than 69,827 surgeries have been performed from April 1, 2011, to January 31, 2012, an increase of 4,184 surgeries (6.0 per cent) over the same period last year. The number of patients waiting remains at the lowest level since the current data measurement system was introduced in late 2004.

"We are working hard to provide sooner, safer, smarter surgical care, and put patients first during every stage of the surgical care process," McMorris said. "The financial commitment in our recent budget reflects our confidence in the path we're taking, and the positive results our surgical care system has already achieved."

The 2012-13 provincial budget included a $60.5 million investment in the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative. Health regions will use the funding to improve access to surgery by providing additional surgeries to patients and introducing innovations that enhance surgical care.

More information about the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative can be found at www.health.gov.sk.ca/surgical-initiative. Wait time data is available at www.sasksurgery.ca.

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