Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sask surgical wait times

Can anyone tell me how this information is useful? The government tells us there are 1,000 fewer people on wait lists than there was 9 months ago. That's good to know, but we don't know why there are fewer patients waiting for government surgeries. For all we know, they died waiting in line.

On the surgical wait times web site, they say the number of surgeries performed actually went down.

What's New
The number of patients waiting for surgery continues to drop. About 1,000 fewer people are waiting for surgery in Saskatchewan hospitals than at the beginning of 2006-07.

The wait list has declined more than seven per cent since December 2005.

Surgical volumes from April to December 2006 are down slightly (about 340 cases) from the same period a year earlier. Fewer procedures were performed in the first quarter (April to June), but more in the second (July to September) and third (October to December) quarters.

They have reduced wait times for surgeries while, at the same time, reducing the number of surgeries actually performed? There's likely a lot more to this, but at first glance you'd have to assume that patients cancelled their own surgery, fled to other jurisdictions and paid to get it done, or they actually died before they could get their surgery.

Or, perhaps, 1000 fewer people needed surgeries last year (doubtful).

Moreover, they lump all orthopaedic surgeries into the same category which distorts reality. Getting a bunyon removed is treated the same as getting hip replacement surgery.

We don't even know what period of time they are measuring -- does the clock start ticking from the GP or from referral by specialist?

This points to the absolute uselessness of the sasksurgery web site.

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