Auditor says Ontario should post wait times for every surgeon
Last Updated: Thursday, October 9, 2008 | 8:41 AM ET
Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter says the government should do more to help people avoid delays in surgery.
McCarter says the Health Ministry is starting to collect information on the wait times for every surgeon in the province, but it won't release that information to patients.
The auditor general said Wednesday that if that type of information were available, patients and doctors could make better informed decisions.
"If I need my knee replaced," said McCarter, using a fairly typical surgery example, "and I saw the wait-time for Dr. Black was nine months and Dr. White was three months, I might say to my GP, 'Can you refer me to Dr. White?'"
That's exactly what's being done for many types of surgery in Alberta and British Columbia.
Shona Holmes, from Toronto, said she couldn't wait any longer to get the tumour removed that was making her go blind.
"You get to the point where you say, 'Why don't they care about me?' You take it very, very personally," she said.
Holmes spent $90,000 of her own money to go to the United States for the surgery.
But Health Minister David Caplan says posted wait times won't be happening in Ontario.
The information, he said, will only be broken down by hospital, not by specific surgeon. Caplan says that's the way to "drive down wait times."
Caplan has told the province's doctors who oppose the release of their wait-times, the public won't be getting that information.
"The advice we get from medical professionals is [that] the approach we are taking is the best way to get system change," he said.
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