Saskatchewan patients continue to wait too long for surgery, as the government has failed to meet surgical wait time targets, thanks to short-sighted cuts and mismanagement.
The wait-time goal set in 2010, to be complete in 2014, will not be met in Saskatchewan’s two largest health regions, Regina Qu’Appelle and Saskatoon, where the most surgeries are performed.
Surgical wait time goals are positive and absolutely attainable, sustainable and should be improved on once we get there. But, sadly, hospitals are in disarray thanks to this government’s cuts and lack of planning to deal with growth.
This government has caused short-staffing problems in every area, from surgeons to environmental staff. It’s lurching from crisis to crisis in hospitals, and health regions are constantly trying to cover the gaps left by the government’s funding cuts. That’s leaving hospitals to run less efficiently.
Saskatchewan families know patients are waiting for surgery much longer than the three-month goal. According to the Fraser Institute, the government calculates wait times differently in Saskatchewan to make their numbers look better.
Other provinces calculate surgical wait times from the day a family doctor refers a patient up until the day of the surgery, while Saskatchewan now doesn’t start the wait-time clock until the health region receives the booking form from the surgeon. They also include emergency surgeries in their wait-time averages to bring them down.
While this government reports a median 8.1-week wait for orthopedic surgery, the Fraser Institute says it’s actually 36.1 weeks, according to a report released in October. The Canadian Institution for Health Information also says wait times in Saskatchewan are getting longer.
With wait times for specialist appointments getting longer in Saskatchewan, so is the overall wait before surgery.
NDP critic for health care