Wait times good for radiation, not so good for joint replacement
Patients in northwestern Ontario have shorter wait times for some priority procedures, but not others, a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information says.
Most cancer patients across the country are getting radiation therapy within 28 days, but at Thunder Bay Regional hospital, the wait time is about half that, thanks to locally-available radiation technology.
"The great advantage for the patients is that most common cancers can be treated here in Thunder Bay and the patient's not looking at flying to Toronto or Hamilton or Ottawa for treatment,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, executive vice-president, Patient Services, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.
However patients needing hip and knee replacements wait two-to-eight weeks longer than elsewhere in the province.
“There seems to be an insatiable demand for joint replacement related to ... the population aging and patients wanting to be more mobile, even when they're elderly,” Henderson said. “And who can blame them?"
Susan Pilatzke, senior director, Health System Transformation with the Local Health Integration Network said they’re actively working on wait times.
"What we're really looking at is a regional approach to the care of individuals requiring orthopaedic surgery."
That includes looking at access to orthopaedic care in communities across the northwest, she said.
What the data says:
Hip replacements: 90 per cent of patients in Ontario get hip replacement within 188 days (26 weeks) versus 90 per cent of patients in Northwestern Ontario get hip replacement within 242 days (34 weeks).
Knee replacements: 90 per cent of patients in Ontario get knee replacement within 216 days (30 weeks) versus 90 per cent of patients in Northwestern Ontario get knee replacement within 32 weeks (228 days).
Sources: CIHI report, Northwest LHIN. Both measured between April-September 2013.