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Surgical Performance and Wait Times

(Posted on May 7, 2024)

Saskatchewan’s surgical system is making progress in ramping up volumes and providing surgeries to patients who need them most. 2023-24 was another record-breaking year for surgical volumes, with roughly 95,700 surgeries performed. This is almost 6,000 surgeries more than the previous high volume recorded last year, in 2022-23.

Continuing investment in surgical teams, technology and transformation during this period will secure permanent improvement in access to surgical care for Saskatchewan people.

Higher surgical volumes, as well as gains in surgical efficiency, help to ensure that wait lists and wait times will continue to trend down for the coming year.


1. Performance Update

This performance update provides surgical data from January 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024.

Results as of March 31, 2024 (posted on May 7, 2024)

Between January 1, 2024 and March 31, 2024. there were 23,891 surgeries performed, with 77.1% of patients receiving their surgery, or an offer of surgery, within three months, 88.2% within six months, and 94.9% within 12 months.

Access to Surgery - Provincial
(January 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024)
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Three Months 77.1%
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Six Months 88.2%
Surgeries Performed or Offered Within 12 Months 94.9%
Percentage calculated over the time period. A small number of patients were offered surgery sooner, but opted for a later date.
Number of Patients Waiting
(Change Since March 2010)
  March 31, 2010 March 31, 2024 Change Since 2010
Cases Waiting More Than Three Months 15,228 12,812 -15.9%
Cases Waiting More Than Six Months 9,818 7,397 -24.7%
Cases Waiting More Than 12 Months 3,975 2,681 -32.6%

In addition to reporting the wait time from when surgery was booked to when surgery was provided, we also report the wait time from the booking date to the date the patient could have received surgery, since some patients choose to wait longer than the earliest date offered to them.

Surgical facilities by area of the province
North West Hospitals in North Battleford, Lloydminster, Meadow Lake
North East Hospitals in Melfort, Prince Albert, Nipawin
Saskatoon Facilities in Saskatoon, including Saskatoon City Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital, Royal University Hospital, Jim Pattison Children's Hospital, Prairieview Surgical Centre
South West Hospitals in Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Rosetown, Kindersley
South East Hospitals in Estevan, Weyburn, Yorkton, Humboldt
Regina Facilities in Regina, including Regina General Hospital, Pasqua Hospital, Regina Surgical Centre
Access to Surgery by Area of Service
  January 1, 2024 to March 31, 2024 On March 31, 2024
Area of Service Surgeries Performed Within Three Months Surgeries Performed or Offered Within Three Months Patients Waiting More Than Three Months Patients Waiting: No Offer of Surgery Within Three Months
North West 88.3% 90.8% 296 205
North East 78.7% 82.6% 877 714
Saskatoon 74.6% 76.2% 5,954 5,677
South West 78.2% 79.6% 539 519
South East 95.4% 96.3% 55 40
Regina 69.8% 70.3% 5,091 5,026
Provincial 75.5% 77.1% 12,812 12,181

*Not including 19 surgeries performed in out of province facilities

The percentage reflects the proportion of surgeries that were performed or offered within 3 months of the booking date. "Patients Waiting" counts the number of cases on that date in which a patient hasn't had surgery yet and has waited longer than three months. Area of Service indicates the location of the surgical centre in which the surgery took place, not the patients' place of residence.

There were 7,397 patients on the wait list who had already waited six months on March 31, 2023. Between January 1, 2024 and March 31, 2024, the percentage of surgeries performed within six months was:

  • Provincewide: 87.3%;
  • Regina: 80.1%;
  • Saskatoon: 88%;
  • In the other four service areas, percentages ranged from 88% to 98.4%.

There were a total of 27,469 patients waiting for surgery on March 31, 2024, (including people waiting less than three months). This is a wait list decrease of 14% (or 4,640 cases) since March 31, 2023.


2. Interactive Wait Time Graphs

The tables below give some information about recent surgical wait times in different areas of the province. They show the number of surgeries performed in the last three months, as well as how long people waited for the surgeries that were performed. They also show the number of patients currently waiting in each area. This information can give you a rough idea what the current wait times are for surgery. The tables can be sorted by specialty, so you can see how long the wait times are for a specific group of procedures like orthopedics or urology. They can also be sorted by area.

Current Wait Times - Median/90th Percentile

This table shows the median and 90th percentile wait times for the surgeries that were performed in the last three months. The 90th percentile wait time is the time by which nine out of 10 (90%) of patients received the procedure. The median is the time by which five out 10 (50%) of patients received the procedure.

View Current Wait Times Data

Table - Waits by Service Area and Specialty

This table shows how long patients waited according to established wait time categories -- ranging from within 3 weeks to more than 12 months. Wait times are shown as the percentage of patients who had their surgery within that time category.

View Waits by Service Area and Specialty Data

Graph - Distribution of Waits

This graph shows the distribution of wait times among patients who recently had surgery. It shows that most people get their surgery in the first few months after their procedure is booked by a surgeon, while other people wait many months from the time of booking. Some people have shorter waits because their procedure is urgent.

View Distribution of Waits Data

Wait Time Trends

The following three graphs show how surgical data and trends are monitored in the province. This report shows the monthly trend over the last 14 years of the median and 90th percentile wait times. You can refine your search by selecting an area of the province.

View Wait Time Trends Data

Counts of Patients Waiting by Time Already Waited

This report shows the number of patients waiting for surgery at the end of each month over the past 14 years. You can define your search by selecting an area of the province.

View Counts of Patients Waiting Data

Surgical Volumes

This report shows the number of surgeries performed each month over the past seven years. You can refine your search by selecting an area of the province.

View Surgical Volumes Data


3. Cancer Surgery

Click on the following links to see wait time information on some common procedures performed for cancer or suspected cancer. The cancer wait time cases reported here are a subset of the total reported surgery cases. (Cancer cases are also included in other data shown on the website.) These links will open as PDF documents.

Cancer Surgery Wait Times by Area of Service

Selected Procedures:


4. Provincial Comparison

Since 2005 there have been pan Canadian benchmarks for access to health services, including some selected surgical procedures.

Click on the links below to see current data and trend graphs for Saskatchewan's performance against each of the pan Canadian benchmarks for surgery.

Check this interactive tool provided by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) to see Saskatchewan's performance compared to other provinces.

Radiation therapy is the responsibility of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. Information on the benchmark "radiation therapy within four weeks of being ready to treat" is available on the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency website.

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