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Ontario's Wait Time Strategy

Archived Backgrounder

Ontario's Wait Time Strategy

Ministry of Health

Wait Times Reporting - How Ontario Compares

·         Ontario now reports wait time information in more ways and more frequently than any other province in Canada. Ontario is now reporting wait times for all surgical areas at hospitals across the province. Data is updated monthly

·         Ontario is the only province reporting wait times for paediatric surgery by hospital

·         Ontario is the only province to report on wait times for emergency room length of stay.

Wait Times Reporting - History

September 2004

Ontario announces a new focus on reducing surgical and diagnostic imaging wait times

October 2005

Ontario launches its Wait Time Strategy website and begins publicly reporting wait times for five key services. There have been over 13.2 million visits to the site since its launch

May 2007

Ontario becomes the first province in Canada to publicly report paediatric wait times

October 2008

Ontario expands public reporting on wait times to include general surgeries, additional orthopaedic and ophthalmologic surgeries

February 2009

Ontario begins public reporting of emergency room wait times


Ontario begins comprehensive reporting of wait times for adult and paediatric surgical procedures

Wait Times Reporting - Results

Ontario measures wait times in two ways:

·         For surgical wait times, the time is tracked between when a surgery is ordered and when it is performed

·         For diagnostic scans, the time is tracked between when a diagnostic scan is ordered and when it is completed.

The wait time reported is the average length of time nine out of 10 patients waited for surgery or a diagnostic scan.

Ontario has reduced wait times in some key areas since the province started measuring in 2005:

·         Cancer surgery by 18 days (or 22 per cent)

·         Angiography by 28 days (or 51 per cent)

·         Angioplasty by 10 days (or 35 per cent)

·         Cataract surgery by 189 days (or 61 per cent)

·         Hip replacement by 186 days (or 53 per cent)

·         Knee replacement by 254 days (or 58 per cent)

·         CT scans by 46 days (or 57 per cent).

The 2009 Report card by the Wait Time Alliance gave Ontario straight As for reducing wait times for hip, knee cancer, cataract and cardiac surgeries. Ontario was the only province to score As in all five areas.

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