Recent quarterly wait times statistics from the
Regional Health Authorities show that Newfoundland and Labrador
continues to improve access in the five pan-Canadian benchmark areas.
The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services,
today released the data for the period of January 1 to March 31, 2007.
"Our province has been recognized nationally as a
leader in reducing wait times and while we are certainly proud of our
success, the true accomplishment lies in what this means for residents
in our province � reduced waiting for treatment means improved health
outcomes faster and greater peace of mind," said Minister Wiseman. "We
have been fulfilling our commitment to reporting our wait times data
quarterly for the past two years and the data shows that we are
consistently improving access in the five priority areas."
Access to curative radiation therapy improved for the
first quarter of this year, with 95 per cent of new cases accessing
treatment within 30 days � the highest completion rate this year. Also
during that quarter, 27 patients traveled to Princess Margaret Hospital
in Toronto to commence radiation treatment for breast and prostate
The percentage of cardiac bypass surgeries completed
within the 182-day benchmark timeframe remained on par with previous
quarters at 92.3 per cent for that quarter. Performance against the
182-day target has consistently remained within the 90th
percent range or above since the third quarter of 2005-06.
Access to cataract surgery continues to improve, with
Eastern Health reporting a 72.5 per cent completion rate within 112
days. While this reflects a decrease in comparison to the completion
rate of 89.5 per cent in the previous quarter of October 1 to December
31, 2007, the number of cases completed for the first quarter of this
year is up by 71 cases. Many of these cases were individuals who had
been waiting near, or just past, the benchmark 112 days. Central Health
surpassed benchmark again that quarter, completing 100 per cent of cases
in 112 days in Gander and 100 per cent of cases in 30 days in Grand
Falls-Windsor. Western Health reported a completion rate of 94.1 per
cent within 112 days. Access to cataract surgery continues to improve in
the Labrador-Grenfell region, with Labrador-Grenfell Health reporting a
23.3 per cent completion rate within the 112 day benchmark. It is
important to note that this region relies on visiting ophthalmologists
to provide this service.
Eastern Health reported the completion rate for hip
replacement cases increased to 78.6 per cent in 182 days. Central Health
once again achieved a rate of 100 per cent within the 182-day benchmark
for hip replacement and Western Health achieved a 95.2 per cent
completion rate. This is a slight decrease from the last quarter of
October 1 to December 31, 2007, as individuals who had been waiting
close to, or just past, the benchmark 182 days were treated in the first
quarter of the year.
For Eastern Health, the knee replacement completion
rate decreased to 70 per cent of cases completed in 182 days as
individuals who had been waiting near or past the 182-day benchmark
target were treated that quarter. Central Health improved over the
previous quarter, achieving a 91 per cent completion rate. Western
Health continues to provide timely access to knee replacement surgery,
and reported a 96.2 per cent completion rate within 182 days.
For the second consecutive quarter, completion rates
for the 48-hour hip fracture fixation benchmark are being reported on a
regional level, according to the provincial methodology in which the
wait time clock is turned on at date and time of registration in the
emergency department of an orthopaedic care centre and turned off at
date and time of surgery. The wait time is then calculated in hours, in
order to precisely measure time to surgical access.
The percentage of hip fracture cases completed within
the 48-hour benchmark ranged from 72.3 per cent in Eastern Health, to
100 per cent in Central Health and 80 per cent in Western Health. As
with previous quarters, Labrador-Grenfell Health data is not reported
for this benchmark, as there were less than 10 cases performed.
Data for cervical screening will be reported for the
first time during the next quarterly update reflecting the period from
April 1 to June 30, 2007, while the data for breast screening is
reported on an annual basis, with the next update in July 2008.
"Our wait times success is primarily due to our
investments in hospital equipment and operating room time to increase
capacity," said Minister Wiseman. "Budget 2007 included a further $2
million to improve access to health services and a $22.3 million
investment for new diagnostic and capital equipment which will enable us
to continue improving wait times."
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Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services