Ontario is falling down on meeting its wait time commitments. Both CIHI and Health Quality Ontario data reporting show that wait times are not improving in Ontario.
There is also a high degree of variability among waits in Ontario, from region to region and from hospital to hospital.
According to CIHI, 50% of Ontario cataract patients are receiving treatment in 65 days or less, well within the overall 16-week target in 2016. That is good news, but it obscures the fact that 1/3 of Ontario cataract patients wait beyond that target and 10% of “high risk” Ontario patients are waiting 208 days or longer.
“Anecdotally, the wait for cataract surgery is at least 6-8 months and it can be up to over a year. It might be reported differently but that’s what we’re seeing on the ground.” – Ontario ophthalmologist
What is also concerning is how much Ontario’s performance has deteriorated. In 2012, 86% of Ontario patients received the required treatment within benchmark. Since that time, Ontario’s performance steadily deteriorated and is now only 70%. This is a worrying statistic for patients needing cataract surgery in Ontario.
While hospitals, in an effort to address growing wait lists, have supported a modest increase in cataract day surgery volumes, they have done so without any corresponding funding from government. It is clear, in the immediate term, that a significant increase in volumes for cataract surgery (5% verses 0.5%) would have a more positive impact on reducing wait times for patients. Consequently, EPSO requests that a minimum of 5,000 additional new QBP-funded cases should be made available to hospitals, as well as an additional 1,000 cases allotted to the Kensington Eye Institute. These allotments would be bundled in to blocks of 250 and tied to new graduate hires. These additional cases would result in a noticeable reduction in wait times, ensuring that a higher proportion of Ontarians are receiving cataract surgery within the clinically-appropriate benchmarks. Monitoring the impact of these additional volumes can help determine future adjustments to cataract surgical planning in Ontario to improve wait time targets for patients.
Want to get involved? Join the Not A Second Longer campaign being run by the Ontario Medical Association. Let your candidates know you will not wait a second longer for the health care you deserve. Take Action.