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Friday, April 13, 2018

Ontario follows national trend on wait times for medical procedures

Wait times increase for joint replacements and cataract surgery but remain stable for more urgent needs like radiation and hip fractures.

“People in Ontario are living longer, healthier lives, with the life expectancy rate in Ontario higher than the national average, and one of the highest in the OECD,” said Health Minister Helena Jaczek, noting that the province has the best survival rates for prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers in Canada.   (DREAMSTIME)

“People in Ontario are living longer, healthier lives, with the life expectancy rate in Ontario higher than the national average, and one of the highest in the OECD,” said Health Minister Helena Jaczek, noting that the province has the best survival rates for prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers in Canada.

 

Canadians are waiting longer for joint replacements and cataract surgeries, while doctors are performing more of these procedures, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

But waits for more urgent procedures, such as radiation therapy and hip-fracture repairs, have remained stable, states a new CIHI report, released Thursday.

The data, which measures changes in waits between 2015 and 2017, shows Ontario’s experience is in line with the general national trend.

The province continues to perform above the national average on three of the measurements. It performs below on two, but not by much.

Of Canadians who had knee replacements, 69 per cent had their procedures done within the benchmark time frame of six months. That’s down from 77 per cent in 2015.

For knee replacements in Ontario, 78 per cent were done within six months, compared to 86 per cent two years earlier.

 

Efforts are underway in Ontario to improve those numbers. For example, hospitals such as Women’s College in Toronto have started to do knee-replacement surgery on an outpatient basis. That frees up beds and resources, allowing for more patients to be accommodated.

The recent provincial budget included investments to reduce wait times and address growing patient demand. The province committed to funding an additional 1,335 hip and knee replacements to the tune of $11.4 million.

As well, the budget included $2.2 million for an additional 4,395 cataract surgeries.

“We continue to reduce wait times for surgery, including hip and knee replacements, which now happen 25 per cent and 31 per cent faster compared to in 2005, when measurement of these timelines first began,” Ontario Health Minister Helena Jaczek said.

“People in Ontario are living longer, healthier lives, with the life expectancy rate in Ontario higher than the national average, and one of the highest in the OECD,” she continued, noting that the province has the best survival rates for prostate, breast, colorectal and lung cancers in Canada.

Jaczek said Ontario leads the rest of the country with the best wait times for lung-cancer surgery. The province is also the national leader on MRI and CT wait times.

The new CIHI data also shows:

  • 76 per cent of Canadian patients had hip replacements within the recommended six months, compared to 83 per cent of Ontarians. That’s down from 76 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.

 

  • 71 per cent of Canadians received cataract surgery within the recommended 16 weeks, compared to 69 per cent of Ontarians. That’s down 5 per cent both nationally and provincially.

 

  • 87 per cent of Canadians needing hip fracture repairs got them in the recommended 48 hours, compared to 86 per cent of Ontarians. Those numbers remained stable nationally and provincially.

 

  • 97 per cent of Canadians requiring radiation therapy got it within 28 days, compared to 98 per cent of Ontarians. That number stayed the same federally but was down 1 per cent provincially.
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