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.
To address this concern EPSO developed a whitepaper – Ensuring Access and Excellence in Cataract Surgery – and presented the concept to Queen’s Park MPPs and Ministry of Health policy advisors on March 7,2018. It was later presented to Ontario’s Provincial Vision Strategy Task Force on March 23, 2018.
On May 4, 2018 EPSO received a Letter of Commitment from the Ministry of Health committing to an additional investment in base funding for cataract surgeries as well as a further one-time investment to help reduce Ontario’s wait lists. Moving forward, the Provincial Vision Strategy Task Force will work with EPSO to develop the policies and procedures needed to roll this program out across Ontario.