Wait times stable as number of procedures increases

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Wait Times for Priority Procedures in Canada, 2015 includes wait time data for knee and hip replacement, hip repair, cataract surgery and radiation therapy. This is CIHI’s 10th year releasing wait time data on priority procedures.

CIHI’s annual report on wait times found that, although more surgeries were performed in Canada between 2010 and 2014, wait times remained consistent.

In all, about 8 out of 10 patients received priority surgical procedures within established benchmarks.

Compared with peer Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, Canada had the shortest wait times for cataract surgery, and the second-shortest wait times for both hip and knee replacements.

While wait time variations between provinces are expected, variations within the regions of each province were also present for joint replacement surgeries. Within larger provinces, wait times varied among more populated regions.

Key Findings

  • Hip fracture repairs were the only type of surgery that demonstrated a significant improvement in procedures performed within benchmark. In 2014, 84% of hip fracture repairs in Canada were performed within benchmark—a 6% increase over the past 5 years.
  • Radiation therapy wait times remained consistent, with 98% of treatments performed within benchmark.
  • Knee replacement surgeries exhibited only a small decrease for procedures performed within benchmark: 79%, compared with 80% in 2010.
  • Hip replacement surgery patients had their procedures done within benchmark 83% of the time, compared with 84% in 2010.
  • Cataract surgeries were performed within benchmark 80% of the time, compared with 83% in 2010.