Saskatchewan patients continue to receive surgeries sooner, thanks to improvements in how surgical care is planned and delivered.
"Eight out of 10 patients are receiving surgery within three months - a remarkable accomplishment," Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. "We challenged our health care providers to make a breakthrough in surgical care. They are now making the final push toward our goal that by April 2014 no patient has to wait more than three months for surgery."
The latest provincial wait times numbers show that, as of July 31, 80 per cent of patients were having surgery within three months of their referral from a surgeon and 91 per cent within six months.
After earlier setbacks, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region has made major strides recently, reducing the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery by 32 per cent, from 5,692 on September 30, 2012 to 3,864 on July 31, 2013.
Increased provincial funding for the Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative has resulted in a seven per cent boost in the number of surgeries performed so far in the 2013-14 year. Patients have received 28,492 surgeries in the first four months of the fiscal year, up from 26,567 performed April 1 to July 31 in 2012.
The latest monthly data update indicates as of July 31, there were 6,105 patients waiting more than three months for surgery. This is a decrease of 61 per cent (or 9,237 fewer patients) compared to the start of the Initiative in April 2010 when more than 15,000 patients were waiting more than three months.
Nine out of 10 health regions are providing surgeries to more than 90 per cent of their patients within six months.
There were 18,525 patients waiting for surgery in the province on July 31, 2013, down from 26,743 in November 2007 and from 27,585 when the Surgical Initiative was launched in April 2010.
The province committed $70.5 million to improve access to surgery in the 2013-14 fiscal year. About 89,000 surgeries will be performed in Saskatchewan this year, an increase of 7,000 from last year.
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.