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NL wait times meet national benchmarks

June 26, 2012

Provincial Wait Times Successfully Meeting National Benchmarks; Report Ranks Province Third in Canada

Wait times in Newfoundland and Labrador for each of the five health care priority areas continue to receive high marks. Provincial statistics from the fourth quarter of 2011-12: January 1 to March 31, indicate that on average, 88 per cent of residents are receiving timely access to radiation treatment, cardiac bypass surgery, cataracts, hip and knee replacement and hip fracture repair. In addition, in the recently released national report card by the Wait Time Alliance, Newfoundland and Labrador was ranked third overall in Canada.

“Over the past eight years, our government has been dedicated to finding solutions to address the issue of wait times throughout the provincial health care system and has invested over $140 million to further that commitment,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “As a result of our continued investment, strategic planning and enhancements, we are successfully meeting our national wait time benchmarks and allowing residents to access services in these areas in a timely manner.”

Curative Radiotherapy

Almost 100 per cent of patients requiring radiation treatment for cancer continued to do so within the benchmark of 28 days. Nine out of 10 patients began treatment within 23 days.

Cardiac Bypass Surgery

One hundred per cent of patients underwent cardiac bypass surgery within 90 days, which is less than half of the national wait time target of 182 days.

Cataracts

More than 1,500 cataract procedures were completed during the latest reporting period; 80 per cent were completed within the benchmark of 112 days. In the Labrador-Grenfell region, 100 per cent of cases were completed within benchmark.

Hip and Knee Replacement

Approximately 80 per cent of hip and knee replacement surgeries were completed within the benchmark of 182 days. This includes 250 knee replacement and more than 100 hip replacement surgeries province-wide.

Hip Fracture Repair

During the last quarter, 130 hip fracture surgeries were completed; 90 per cent were completed within the benchmark of 48 hours. In the western region, 100 per cent of the surgeries were completed within the benchmark.

In addition, participation rates for organized breast screening and cervical screening remain high. In the last reporting period of 2010-11, breast screening for women aged 50 to 69, through the Provincial Breast Screening Program, was 60 per cent. As well, a significant number of screening mammograms are performed yearly in acute care facilities outside of the screening program. The participation rate for cervical screening for women aged 20 to 69, who had at least one Pap test between 2009 and 2011, was 72 per cent.

In the national report card by the Wait Time Alliance, Newfoundland and Labrador received an A grade with 80 to 100 per cent of the population being treated within the benchmarks for radiation therapy, bypass surgery and hip replacement; a B grade for 70 to 79 per cent of people being treated for cataracts; and, a C grade for 60 to 69 per cent of individuals being treated for knee replacement.

“The findings in this national report card are a true reflection of the great strides our government has and continues to make to lower wait times for critical health care services throughout the province,” said Minister Sullivan. “We are pleased with the progress we have made in reducing wait times and expect further improvements as we continue to implement the initiatives included in our wait time reduction strategies for joint replacement surgeries and emergency departments.”

Budget 2012: People and Prosperity – Responsible Investments for a Secure Future includes $5 million for the two provincial wait time reduction strategies, announced in February. This includes $1.4 million for the first year of the joint replacement strategy and $3.6 million for year one of the emergency department strategy. Budget 2011 included $1.8 million to create a new Access and Clinical Efficiency Division within the Department of Health and Community Services. This division is now fully operational and provides leadership on the issue of reducing wait times for key health services.

Link to the original news release

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