Health and Community Services
December 22, 2008

The Province Continues to Achieve Wait Times Success

The most recent quarterly wait time data shows that Newfoundland and Labrador continues to achieve the national benchmark timeframes in many of the five priority areas. The data from regional health authorities, released by the Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services, represents the period from January 1 to March 31, 2008 and shows that the completed cases were concentrated in the 78 to 100 per cent range.

"The results for this quarter show an eight per cent improvement in the overall wait time range, pointing to the dedication and commitment of health providers from across our province," said Minister Wiseman. "With a $52 million investment in new health equipment this year, we hope to further reduce wait times and improve access to vital procedures and services for residents in our province."

Patients in this province continue to receive timely access to curative radiotherapy. Eighty-five per cent of patients commenced treatment for breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancers within 30 days from decision to treat. Overall, the proportion of cases starting at the 30-day milestone has remained at or above 85 per cent since 2006-2007. Also, during the quarter, 14 patients were referred to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Ontario to begin curative radiation treatment for breast or prostate cancer. With the recent opening of two new radiation treatment machines at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, there is no longer a requirement to send patients to Princess Margaret Hospital.

Nine out of 10 individuals continue to receive cardiac bypass surgery within 182 days. Even more significantly, the percentage of bypass cases completed within the benchmark has consistently remained above the 90th percentile since 2006.

Almost 1,100 cataract cases were performed in the province for the quarter. Eastern Health completed 78.5 per cent of 762 cataract surgeries within the 112-day target. Central Health and Western Health performed 100 per cent of a combined total of 273 cases within 112 days or less during this quarter. In Labrador-Grenfell region, the locum ophthalmologist performed 29.4 per cent of 19 cases within the 112-day target.

Comparable to the previous quarter, 80 arthroplasty hip operations were performed in the province. Of 52 cases performed by Eastern Health, 78.9 per cent underwent hip replacement surgery within the 182-day target during the quarter. Again this quarter, Central Health and Western Health performed 100 per cent hip surgeries within the benchmark timeframe.

The proportion of knee replacement cases completed within the benchmark at Eastern Health dropped slightly to 67 per cent for the quarter. However, the number of knee surgeries performed by Eastern Health increased by 13.5 per cent over the past year. Central and Western Health both performed 100 per of cases within the benchmark of 182 days. Overall, the number of knee replacement surgeries performed provincially for the quarter rose by 33 per cent.

Eastern Health performed 81.2 per cent of hip fracture repairs within 48 hours and Western Health performed 91.3 per cent within 48 hours. Central Health data is suppressed, as a low number of hip fracture repairs were performed this quarter. Data for hip and knee replacements and hip fracture repairs for Labrador-Grenfell Health is suppressed, as low numbers of cases were performed in each of these areas.

Regional and provincial participation rates for the provincial Cervical Screening Initiatives Program and the provincial Breast Screening Program are reported annually. The participation rates for cervical screening will be provided in the next quarterly update and the participation rates for breast screening will be provided in late summer 2009.

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Media contact:
Glenda Power
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 685-1741


Service Area Pan-Canadian benchmarks Newfoundland and Labrador Wait Times - Fourth Quarter
(January � March, 2008)
Curative Radiotherapy Within 4 weeks (28 days) of being ready to treat.

85% in 30 days

Coronary Bypass
Surgery (CABG)

94.6% of CABG cases completed in 182 days.

Level 1 Within 2 weeks (14 days) Data will be reported according to the benchmark urgency levels when implementation of the new provincial cardiac registry is completed.
Level 2 Within 6 weeks (42 days)
Level 3 Within 26 weeks (182 days)
Cataract Within 16 weeks (112 days) for patients who are at high risk.

Eastern Health: 78.5%
Central Health (Gander): 100%
Central Health (GFW): Not reported
Western Health: 100%
Labrador-Grenfell Health: 29.4%

Hip Replacement Within 26 weeks (182 days)

Eastern Health: 78.9%
Central Health: 100%
Western Health: 100%
Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed.

Knee Replacement Within 26 weeks (182 days)

Eastern Health: 67%
Central Health: 97%
Western Health: 100%
Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed.

Hip Fracture Repairir Fixation within 48 hours

Eastern Health: 81.2%
Central Health: Data

Western Health: 91.3%
Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed.

Breast Screeningng Women aged 50-69 every two years

Participation rate information will be updated on an annual basis (again in 2009).

Cervical Screening Women, starting at age 18, every three years to age 69 after two normal pap tests.

Participation rate information will be updated on an annual basis (again in 2009).

Notes: Joint replacement and hip fracture repair data are suppressed for the Labrador Grenfell Health region, as well as hip fracture repair data for Central Health region, as a small volume of cases were performed during this quarter.

Source: Regional Health Authorities, Newfoundland and Labrador

2008 12 22                                                      10:00 a.m.

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