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Surgical Care Transformed to Serve Patients Better

Released on May 28, 2014

Innovative changes and investments during the four-year Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative have resulted in sooner, safer, smarter surgical care for the people of Saskatchewan.  The number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery is down 75 per cent, with 11,528 fewer patients waiting that long for surgery on March 31, 2014, than in March 2010.

“Since the introduction of this initiative, there has been a dramatic improvement in access to surgical care for the people of Saskatchewan,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Thanks to the hard work of regional health authorities and patients, we saw a remarkable improvement in surgical wait times across the province.”

The Surgical Initiative was the first major health system project to include patients in the planning process.

“More and more members of our health care teams, including management, frontline staff and patients and families are becoming active in the improvement process,” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region patient advisor Cindy Dumba said.  “The more we work together, the better the improvements.”

Of the 10 health regions that offer surgery, four achieved the goal of having no patients waiting longer than three months for surgery by March 31, 2014, four are very close (with a combined total of 41 patients still waiting more than three months) and the two largest health regions are working hard to reach the goal during the 2014-15 fiscal year, after facing unexpectedly high demand for surgeries.

Looking at the last three months of the initiative, of all patients who received surgery between January 1, 2014 and March 31, 2014, 80.8 per cent received it within three months of being booked for surgery.

The Surgical Initiative released a report on its final year of activity, citing key improvements that have resulted in sooner, safer and smarter surgical care:
  • An online Specialist Directory to help patients identify surgical options;
  • Specialist groups that pool referrals, so patients can see the first appropriate specialist, or wait for a specific specialist;
  • Timely and appropriate care through clinical “pathways”;
  • Province-wide implementation of the surgical safety checklist and measures to prevent surgical infections and medication errors;
  • Increased capacity to train operating room nurses;
  • Expanded capacity through third-party surgical and diagnostic services; and
  • A culture of continuous improvement being adopted by health system partners.
Monthly wait time updates will continue to be posted on www.sasksurgery.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tyler.mcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca

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