Surgical Wait Times In Canada
There are two categories of orthopaedic wait lists in Canada.
Wait List #1 – The wait time to see a surgeon for an initial face to face appointment.
- Given the risks and potential complications of surgery – it is only undertaken as the last resort. That’s why your referral letter is so important to surgeons before deciding whether you need to be seen or not.
- The first wait time is from the moment a surgeon reviews and accepts your referral letter to the date of an initial face to face appointment.
- Just because you have an abnormal x-ray or MRI, does not mean you will be offered an appointment to see a surgeon.
- If your physician’s referral letter doesn’t state you’ve exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you can expect that you will not be offered an appointment.
- Not all provincial health authorities report the first wait time because this wait time depends on an individual surgeon’s office schedule and the number of referrals they have.
- The appointment date and time of your initial appointment will be communicated by the surgeon in a letter to both your physician and yourself.
Wait List #2 – The wait time to when you actually undergo surgery.
- The second wait time is from the date your surgeon (a) offers you surgery in their office, (b) you sign the necessary paperwork until to the date you undergo surgery.
- Please be aware that surgeons are dependent on the availability of operating rooms in order to perform surgery.
- With COVID-19, operating rooms in many hospitals across Canada were closed and consequently surgeons have a significant backlog of patients waiting for surgery. Please don’t get mad at your surgeon or their reception staff – they are trying their best to accelerate appointments and surgery for all their patients.
- Provincial health authorities record and report this wait time by one or more of the following;
- name of the surgical procedure
- name of the hospital
- name of the health region,
- the name of the surgeon.
- When reading tables, look for drop down menus that allow you to sort wait-times by surgeon name, hospital or health region.