NLIS 3
Health and Community Services
April 8, 2010

Province Continues Strong Performance with Wait Time Benchmarks

The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to perform well in meeting national wait time benchmarks, which include curative radiotherapy, coronary bypass surgery, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacement, hip fracture repair and diagnostics. The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services, today released statistics for the first two quarters of 2009-10: April 1 to June 30, and July 1 to September 30.

�Our latest wait times update clearly demonstrates that Newfoundland and Labrador is continuing its commitment to reduce wait times within our health care system,� said Minister Kennedy. �Although we see slight variations from one quarter to the next, overall our province is performing well, which is resulting in Newfoundlanders and Labradorians receiving care in these areas in a timely manner.�

Curative Radiotherapy
Radiation treatment wait time information has been expanded this year to report across all disease sites, including breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.

During the first two quarters of 2009-10, between 85.8 to 87.7 per cent of 407 new patients began radiation treatment within the benchmark target timeframe of 30 days.

Cardiac Bypass Surgery
Wait time reporting for cardiac bypass surgery has also been expanded to report the province�s performance according to the three urgency levels included in the national benchmark for cardiac bypass surgery. These levels are classified as follows: Level 1 is urgent, Level 2 is semi-urgent and Level 3 is elective. The access target is 14 days for Level 1, 42 days for Level 2 and 182 days for Level 3. During both quarters combined, 185 bypass surgeries were performed. Approximately 91 to 100 per cent of Level 1, 86.7 to 88.9 per cent of Level 2, and 94.1 to 100 per cent of Level 3 patients underwent surgery within the corresponding target timeframes. In some cases, procedures were periodically postponed and rescheduled when there was a high demand for critical care beds.

Cataracts
In keeping with the national definition recommended by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the wait time measurement for cataract surgery is now refined, with regions reporting a more precise wait time for surgery on the first eye as opposed to the combined wait time for both eyes. This change will help improve comparability of cataract surgical wait times among provinces.

The national benchmark target for cataract procedures is 112 days. More than 2,000 cataract cases were carried out during both quarters combined. The Eastern region carried out 75.9 to 76.5 per cent of cataract procedures on the first eye within 112 days. In the Central region, 82.2 to 100 per cent of first eye cases were completed within the benchmark timeframe. In the Western region, 90.9 to 100 per cent of first eye procedures were carried out within 112 days. In Labrador-Grenfell region 92.9 per cent of first eye cases were completed within the benchmark timeframe in the first quarter and zero cases were completed in the summer period.

Hip Replacement
Close to 180 hip replacement surgeries were performed during the first and second quarters of 2009-10. In the Eastern region, 48.7 to 61.5 per cent of 91 cases were completed within the national benchmark target of 182 days. In the Central region, 87 to 90.9 per cent of 50 cases were completed, and approximately 94 to 100 per cent of cases in Western and Labrador-Grenfell regions were completed in 182 days.

Knee Replacement
Similar to national trends, the number of residents requiring knee replacement surgery continues to increase annually. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as an increased need as the province�s aging population rapidly increases. Also, the use of newer more advanced prosthetic technologies has resulted in improved outcomes, which has contributed to the increase. The largest growth is concentrated in one region; as a result, wait times are noticeably longer in Eastern than elsewhere in the province.

The national benchmark for knee replacement is 182 days. Just over 300 knee operations were carried out during both quarters combined. One hundred and sixty-two of these cases were completed in the Eastern region with 39.7 to 42.7 per cent done within 182 days. In the Central region, 97.4 to 100 per cent of 83 cases were completed in the same timeframe. Western Health performed 100 per cent of around 50 cases within the benchmark target, and in the Labrador-Grenfell region, 71.4 per cent of cases were completed in the same timeframe during the first quarter.

Hip Fracture Repair
The national benchmark for hip fracture surgery is 48 hours. During the first two quarters of 2009-10, more than 220 surgeries took place in the Province. In the Eastern region, 73.3 to 77 per cent of 138 cases were carried out within 48 hours and 96.7 to 98.7 per cent within 72 hours. In the Central region, 100 per cent of close to 40 cases were done within 24 to 48 hours, and 85.7 to 88.9 per cent of nearly 50 cases were done within 48 hours in the Western region. A small number of repairs were completed in the Labrador-Grenfell region, therefore data is suppressed.

Wait time benchmarks are evidence-based goals that each province and territory will strive to meet. Benchmarks express the amount of time that clinical evidence shows is appropriate to wait for a particular procedure. A wait time begins with the decision to treat, when the patient and the appropriate physician agree to a service and the patient is ready to receive it. The ultimate objective is timely and appropriate care for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Budget 2010: The Right Investments � For Our Children and Our Future provides total funding for health care in the amount of $2.7 billion, a record investment. Investments to improve access to services and reduce wait times include $52.2 million for new medical equipment, such as a new MRI machine at St. Clare�s Mercy Hospital and the purchase of new ultrasound machines throughout the province. Budget 2010 also includes approximately $1.4 million to enhance surgical and cardiology services at Western Memorial Hospital and $1.1 million to decrease wait times for surgery by increasing the number of positions in operating rooms in the Eastern Health region.

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Media contact:
Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 685-2646
tansymundon@gov.nl.ca

BACKGROUNDER
Provincial Wait Times Data

2009-10 Quarter 1: April 1 to June 30, 2009

Service Area

Pan-Canadian benchmarks

Newfoundland and Labrador Wait Times- First Quarter

(April � June, 2009)

Curative Radiotherapy

Within 4 weeks (28 days) of being ready to treat.

  • 87.7% in 30 days

Coronary Bypass

Surgery (CABG)

Level 1 Within 2 weeks (14 days)

  • 100%
Level 2 Within 6 weeks (42 days)
  • 86.7%
Level 3 Within 26 weeks (182 days)
  • 100%

Cataract

Within 16 weeks (112 days) for patients who are at high risk.

  • Eastern Health: 76.5% First eye
  • Central Health (Gander): 100% First eye
  • Central Health (GFW): 97% First eye
  • Western Health: 100% First eye
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: 92.9% First eye

Hip Replacement

Within 26 weeks (182 days)

  • Eastern Health: 61.5%
  • Central Health: 87%
  • Western Health: 100%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: 100%

Knee Replacement

Within 26 weeks (182 days)

  • Eastern Health: 42.7%
  • Central Health: 97.4%
  • Western Health: 100%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: 71.4%

Hip Fracture Repair

Fixation within 48 hours

  • Eastern Health: 73.3%
  • Central Health: 100%
  • Western Health: 88.9%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed

Breast Screening

Women aged 50-69 every two years

  • Participation rates will be updated on an annual basis.

Cervical Screening

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

  • Participation rates will be updated on an annual basis.

Notes: Hip fracture repair data are suppressed for the Labrador-Grenfell Health region, as a small volume of cases were performed during this quarter.

2009-10 Quarter 2: July 1 to September 30, 2009

Service Area

Pan-Canadian benchmarks

Newfoundland and Labrador Wait Times- Second Quarter

(July � September, 2009)

Curative Radiotherapy

Within 4 weeks (28 days) of being ready to treat.

  • 85.8% in 30 days

Coronary Bypass

Surgery (CABG)

Level 1 Within 2 weeks (14 days)

  • 90.9%
Level 2 Within 6 weeks (42 days)
  • 88.9%

Level 3 Within 26 weeks (182 days)
  • 94.1%

Cataract

Within 16 weeks (112 days) for patients who are at high risk.

  • Eastern Health: 75.9% First eye
  • Central Health (Gander): 82.2% First eye
  • Central Health (GFW): 94.1% First eye
  • Western Health: 90.9% First eye
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: Zero cases

Hip Replacement

Within 26 weeks (182 days)

  • Eastern Health: 48.7%
  • Central Health: 90.9%
  • Western Health: 93.8%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: 100%

Knee Replacement

Within 26 weeks (182 days)

  • Eastern Health: 39.7%
  • Central Health: 100%
  • Western Health: 100%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed

Hip Fracture Repair

Fixation within 48 hours

  • Eastern Health: 77%
  • Central Health: 100% in 24 hours
  • Western Health: 85.7%
  • Labrador-Grenfell Health: Data suppressed

Breast Screening

Women aged 50-69 every two years

  • Participation rates will be updated on an annual basis.

Cervical Screening

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

  • Participation rates will be updated on an annual basis.

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

Source: Regional Health Authorities, Newfoundland and Labrador.

2010 04 08                          10:00 a.m.


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