Hi Everyone:

Health Ministers from across the country unveiled 10 national benchmarks to demonstrate progress in reducing wait times for five areas: hip and knee replacement, cancer surgery, cataract, MRI/CT and cardiac treatment. Today's announcement is a key commitment made by the First Ministers in their 10-year Plan to Strengthen Health Care.

Wait times are one of the ways we can measure the quality of the health care we receive. Currently, wait times can range dramatically across the province, which we saw with the launch of the province's wait times website. Wait times can also vary across the country. By establishing national benchmarks, each government can implement their own strategy, but with a common target in mind.

UHN has long supported the province's wait times strategy and the need for greater accountability and transparency. For example, we were the first hospitals to post more than 125 medical and surgical wait times on our website.

Developed based on research and clinical evidence, provincial and territorial governments will now strive to provide the following services under these benchmarks:

  • Radiation therapy to treat cancer: within 4 weeks of patients being ready to treat.
  • Hip and knee replacement: within 26 weeks.
  • Hip fracture: fixation within 48 hours.
  • Surgery to remove cataracts: within 16 weeks for patients who are at high risk.
  • Breast cancer screening for women: for ages 50-69, every two years.
  • Cervical cancer screening for women: for ages 18-69, every three years after two normal tests.
  • Cardiac bypass surgery: Level I patients within 2 weeks; Level II patients within 6 weeks; and Level III patients within 26 weeks. (Level refers to individual patient risk)

For many of these procedures, UHN's wait times are close to the benchmarks. For hip and knee replacement surgery, for example, our patients are waiting less time than the 26-week benchmark.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's news release and backgrounder are available at http://www.health.gov.on.ca


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